Experimental Dental School

2½ Creatures

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Coming on like gangbusters from the get-go, as well as copping the motif from The Flight of the Bumblebee for a frantic organ riff, Oakland, CA's Experimental Dental School offer up their take on the quintessential East Bay sound, which flows from Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 through Caroliner and Idiot Flesh by way of much of the Alternative Tentacles catalog. It's likely the aforementioned organ sound that provides this feel, all carnival cabaret and cartoonish caterwaul (shades of Raymond Scott), combined with a herky-jerky quirky rhythmic approach, abstruse guitar work (courtesy of the "guitar-o-bass," a custom-built low-tuned guitar with bass strings), and short-attention-span arrangements. Some tracks really roll with a manic no-wave energy, at times reminiscent of avant-noir absurdists like Skeleton Key (possibly due to heavy use of megaphoned vocals and exotic percussion) and Deerhoof (possibly due to the contribution of that band's drummer, Greg Saunier, to some of these tracks); others, especially the instrumentals, bog down in pedestrian Mad Monster Party riffage. Where they succeed is in their dedication to the cause of being weird and zany, a little bit dangerously unhinged, but not just for the sake of it, and their single-minded commitment to make it fun.

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