Songs for Adults

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One word: hilarious! Nimby is as close to an avant-prog supergroup as you are likely to get, so hearing these guys cracking their sides up playing (attempted) straightforward music is already extremely entertaining. Add to that James Grigsby's snappy lyrics, and the whole thing turns into a wonderfully self-derisive laugh fest for the discerning avant-progressive rock fan. The brainchild of Motor Totemist Guild guitarist Grigsby, Songs for Adults is a collection of... er...songs for adults -- not the explicit kind, but rather the kind addressing topics specific to fortysomethings. An example? Here are the first four lines from "Midlife Crisis": "I'm having a midlife crisis/My hair is getting thin/I bought a sports car to get a bimbo/I'm drinking too much gin." Another one? A nugget from "Helper Monkey": "Helper monkey/My baby's got a helper monkey" -- you get the idea. Each song adopts a different style, from rockabilly to tango, reggae, and bossa nova, not to forget a couple of heavy rockers, like "Slap the Patch" and "I'm the Grumpy Old Man Now." Singer Jerry Wheeler does a marvelous job switching back and forth between hard rocker and ballroom crooner personas. Along with Bob Drake's gritty bass playing, Wheeler's trombone is often the element that sends otherwise innocuous songs derailing to the left side. Drummer Dave Kerman is dead serious throughout, although one can easily imagine him playing with a grin a mile wide on his face. Grigsby's songwriting balances wit and hooks, but Wheeler's sole contribution -- the dirge "Thanks Dialysis Man!" -- outdoes him in terms of mad ludicrousness. Drake gets a guest lead vocal spot in "Tattoo Removal," which incidentally sounds very close to his own usual style. The man also engineered and mixed the album, which means that arrangements are very dense, with lots of creative overdubbing and wide stereo separation. A concept album? Probably, but this is more about conceptual fun, and it delivers. Think of a cross between 5uu's, the pastiche side of Frank Zappa, and Weird Al Yankovic's zany originals. Fans of Motor Totemist Guild, 5uu's, Thinking Plague, and Drake's solo albums have to hear this. And if you think you're too young for this kind of middle-aged self-mockery, don't worry. You'll get there, eventually.

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