Richard Cheese

Aperitif for Destruction

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If calling oneself Richard Cheese and offering lounge versions of contemporary popular songs strikes one as funny, that's probably because it's supposed to be. In a sense, Cheese, along with bandmembers with last names like Gouda and Brie, is an extended joke, and Aperitif for Destruction is a sophisticated version of Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood. While Cheese's taste in music occasionally crosses with Boone's (both cover Guns N' Roses; and both cover "Enter Sandman"), he prefers more scandalous material, opening Aperitif with 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny" and Slipknot's "People Equal S***." Lounge style, these songs are both tuneful and totally absurd, a mixture of bad taste performed in a tacky style. The problem with Aperitif for Destruction, though, is that it's a one-note joke best taken one song at a time. Cheese does attempt to move beyond the collection's surface quality on occasion, but these attempts never quite bloom into full ideas. On "Enter Sandman," for instance, '50s background vocals draw a link between the song and "Mr. Sandman," but the odd mixture is more quirky than funny, and never really melds. A song or two from Aperitif will probably liven up a slow moving party or give one's friends a good belly laugh, but taken as a whole, it begins to sound a lot like what it makes fun of.

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