Theoretically, King Missile's goofy, bizarre, highly self-indulgent avant rock/spoken word should have grown tiresome a long time ago. But that isn't the case. After all these years, Missile founder John S. Hall still commands attention -- and that can be attributed to the fact that Hall, for all his self-indulgence, is genuinely clever. Hall's work is full of artistic masturbation, but overall, it's good artistic masturbation. Released in 2004, Royal Lunch finds Hall continuing to hold one's interest 17 years after he founded Missile's original 1987 lineup. Parts of this album are very political; Hall blasts the policies of President George W. Bush and his administration on "Suggested Response to the Coming Crisis," "Another Political Poem," and "America Kicks Ass," and he humorously expresses his disdain for the Christian Right on "The God." In the hands of other left-leaning artists -- Rage Against the Machine, KRS-One, Jello Biafra, or Gil Scott-Heron, for example -- political rants can become quite angry. But Hall's lovably dorky monotone and his overall goofiness have a way of softening the blows. Hall comes up with so many nutty, irreverently absurd references that he becomes disarming -- references that range from a vegan god wanting to eat horse meat to a suggestion that people in the S&M/fetish scene use lobsters as nipple clamps. Even when Hall is telling listeners how much he despises Attorney General John Ashcroft and Vice President Dick Cheney, he comes across as more of an eccentric than an agitator. Not everything on Royal Lunch is great; there are a few weak tracks here and there. But more often than not, Royal Lunch is a memorable effort that underscores King Missile's durability and lets you know that Hall has yet to run out of ideas.
Royal Lunch Review
by Alex Henderson