We Won't Rock You

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Having garnered positive press from MAGNET magazine and pennyblackmusic.com with regard to its 1999 debut full-length American Custard, one would have expected Fablefactory to rush to issue a follow-up album so the band could capitalize on the buzz it had created. However, this Athens, Georgia, ensemble took its sweet time in producing a follow-up record, Freak Out Hard on You, and in the meantime reissued its critically acclaimed debut single, Fowell Byrd, as a package with American Custard through Japan's Vivid Sound Corp. In addition, the group released We Won't Rock You, a collection of B-sides, singles, compilation tracks, and assorted outtake material, in August of 2002. The weirdness of this record can't be overemphasized. Ween almost looks normal by comparison. However, Fablefactory's weirdness is wrapped in such happy music that it is easy to overlook the odd lyrics at first, and you can't help but giggle once you do begin to pay attention to the lyrics (and Fablefactory would want it that way -- it's a joke that everyone is in on). Running in the same circles as fellow Athenians Elf Power, the Minders, and various other affiliates of Orange Twin Records and the Elephant 6 collective, it is little wonder that Fablefactory has gained attention from the indie music scene; the surprise is that the band actually deserves it. Unlike most other kitchen-sink compilations of this sort that tend to come across as thrown together and disjointed, We Won't Rock You could pass for a proper album.

Characterized by quirky musical arrangements marked by colorful horn lines that call to mind the off-kilter pop of the Gerbils or Gwens, Fablefactory is the sound of indie pop minus any sort of inhibitions, and the result is pure, unadulterated fun. Songs range from quiet, woozy psychedelia ("Chocolate Rainbow") to full-on freakout rock ("Tobacci Heaven," with completely incoherent, rather demonic, vocals) to laid-back acoustic meanderings inspired by alien visits ("Canned and Creamed Corn") to a mildly unsettling, but amusing, perspective on being born ("Pop Out!," the group's signature song, featuring the chorus "I popped out/You popped out/Everybody pop out of a vagina"). "They Come from Planet Goo!" explores life of other forms ("They are not bacteria/They come from Planet Goo/Parasites are wearing my shoes") -- the chorus actually sounds a little like Wilco's "Heavy Metal Drummer." Disarmingly poppy "Sinister Sybil" is the story of a woman who "dismantles the minister's head in order to find the yellow gelatin." Yikes. The majority of the songs on We Won't Rock You are simply outtakes from the sessions for Freak Out Hard on You, so it should serve as some indication as to the group's direction on that record. Also included are the wonderfully catchy songs from Fablefactory's debut six-song single, Fowell Byrd, and outtakes from American Custard. Though intended only for "true fablers," We Won't Rock You is actually a fine starting point for those as yet uninitiated into the wonderful weirdness of Fablefactory (for those who wish the band would be even crazier, there's always frontman Davey Wrathgabar's solo project, Visitations). Bonus points for Hank Wren's handy and amusing liner notes that guide listeners through the songs, revealing their origins and tidbits like which song Wrathgabar "can't stand" and which one he calls a "San Fran bath house song."

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:45
2 3:12
3 3:07
4 2:33
5 2:55
6 1:27
7 2:39
8 2:40
9 2:30
10 1:13
11 0:41
12 3:46
13 3:59
14 1:27
15 0:55
16 1:51
17 1:53
18 3:24
19 3:28
blue highlight denotes track pick