Elliott Sharp

Radio Hyper-Yahoo

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With yet another moronic administration in the White House in 2004, it was only fitting that Elliott Sharp revisit his In the Land of the Yahoos series, begun during the Reagan Administration and continued during that of George the First. Inspired by the brilliant satirist Jonathan Swift, this series addresses life in America from various viewpoints, generally skewering what passes for culture and mores in the United States with no punches pulled. The spoken parts are all written by the performer, except that Steve Buscemi reads some William S. Burroughs text. It's a potent mix of actors and singers with Elliott Sharp providing all the background music (with just a bit of help). And Sharp as a player and composer just keeps getting better. The music here is utterly listenable, with some fantastic grooves that would do just as well without any spoken additions (in fact, there are a handful of purely instrumental tracks). Those who think of Sharp as a purely avant-garde skronkmeister might well be surprised at what a truly great player he is, and he sets just the right background for the text, from the avant funk setting of "No Crime" with Eric Bogosian (an album highlight) to the solo banjo backdrop for Maggie Estep to the ominous electronic drone of "Heathern" to the cinematic instrumental "Escalation." Republicans may want to stay clear, but this is one of Sharp's finest.

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