Proctor and Bergman

Give Us a Break

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On their first album as Proctor and Bergman, Firesign Theatre members Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman played a duo running a fake cable station; this time around Proctor and Bergman dispense with the behind-the-scenes part, instead focusing on the fake commercials and programs. Though an album full of discrete bits may disappoint those fans who yearn for the pull-on-one-thing-and-the-whole-album-unravels style that was the hallmark of Firesign Theatre, it's definitely a much easier listen for pretty much everyone else, encouraging the sampling of bits and pieces rather than requiring long-haul listening. There are a lot of great bits here, including a clever rearranging of the letters in "nuclear" in "Nukes in the News," the mind-boggling "Brainduster Memory School," and the chilling "Movie Spots." Sadly, though, "U.N. in Session" is a tour through a number of racial stereotypes and ethnic jokes and sets a new low for any of the members of Firesign Theatre (despite a fair number of ethnic jokes of questionable taste on previous albums, they were never quite this gratuitous). It's hard to tell whether they're trying to make a point, because they also manage to pull off other ethnic characterizations in "What Did That Man Say?" without becoming offensive.

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