Star Bryan Star

Cocky Bass*Turd EP

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On his Cocky Bass*Turd EP, Star Bryan Star's promising strengths pull double duty as profoundly misguided weaknesses. His collagist home recordings are an oddly appealing mix of scatological humor, stream-of-consciousness rambling, patchwork power riffs, and left-field vocal samples. However, these same elements are too often secondary to what seems to be SBS's singular motivation -- that is, the entertainment of his inner circle. While "Ester" figures prominently throughout the EP, it's the character's roles in "Ester Knees Cattle" and "Ester Rapes Cats" that are most problematic. The tracks' cutting, disjointed guitar lines and oddball samples (at one point, Harry Caray's famous "Holy Cow!" call bleats from the squelch) are steamrolled by Star Bryan Star's sloppily repetitive raps concerning Ester's odd proclivities. If delivered correctly, inside jokes can be entertaining -- even captivating -- for the uninformed. When SBS loses this thread, the results are dull and disastrous, and might be even for the initiated. However, as the latter portion of Cocky Bass proves, the same approach can lead to a weird form of slapdash genius. "Ester Fingers Flounder" periodically explodes into a distorted hardcore rant of a chorus; in between, Star continues tracing the grosser than gross adventures of his muse -- "Ester was caught breaking into the aquarium/He was even caught stealing the doctor's barium." It's never made clear just who Ester is or why he does what he does. However, the song works because it pays more -- but not too much -- attention to framing. Best might be "Don't Touch It on Xmas." Besides being awesomely named, the track expertly unites each unit in the SBS table of elements. He brings Ester to grandmother's house, rhymes "crotch" and "watch," and peels repeatedly into a looped white noise chorus of screeching voices. If there was ever a link between Adam Sandler and Mr. Bungle, "Xmas" is it. Ultimately, two solid tracks aren't enough to save Cocky Bass*Turd. But they suggest that with a bit more twisted focus, Star Bryan Star might be able to let you in on the joke.

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