Stunning and Inventive
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am hard-pressed to recall an album that cozies up to both freakish originality and coy derivation in such promiscuous fashion. Fans who eat their music without chewing on their toungue-in-cheek or dribbling their mixed metaphors are strongly recommended to chomp down on this. I particularly love "Frank", but the pleasures are only as endless as your tolerance for experimentation."
Double bummer is a double winner of bizarreness
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This double CD consists of the collections Double Bummer (1988) and Breaking No New Ground (1987), as well as the 7" single (1989) consisting of their covers of Roky Erickson's "You Don't Love Me Yet" and a blaring rendition of the Monkees' "Porpoise Song." This is among the most weird and avant-garde music I've ever heard, incorporating psychedelia, documentary excerpts, pop culture, and emotional postmodernist performance art. What bizarre stuff Ann Magnuson, Kramer from But---le Surfers, and company have wrought! Highlights."Frank" has Magnuson at her bizarre, her incoherent bellowing out angst-ridden lines over Kramer's guitar chords like some punkish performance artist. Some of Ann's demented rants include "the party's over get out of my bed why don't you go slit your wrists i'd rather starve kiss my feet get out sight f--- the subpoena where's the sheet music? you didn't spell my name right" Another is an emotional catharsis of "His New Look.""Joyride" is a descriptive monologue about her traveling with friends and suggesting becoming leftist radicals, defending her position by saying she's "not a negative person, but angered by so much of what is around" before launching into a cacophony of background dialogue, droning guitar and drums. "Decadent Iranian Country Club" is another monologue about her being at the title place, "pre-Ayatollah" and her wanting to leave.Another voice that pops up is a Christian boy whose cute voice sounds a bit like one of Donald Duck's nephews, and whenever he comes on, it's usually as an intro leading into the song, such as "Joyride" or "You Don't Love Me Yet.""David Bowie Wants Ideas" has her encountering two Davids, Bowie who sends her a form letter and xylophone inviting her to contribute ideas that go into his album, and a weird surrealist experience with David Byrne, with whom she drinks some perfume in a bottle shaped like the head of King Tut.Their tendency to do odd takes on cover versions is evident here. They do three Beatles songs, a slowed down chugging guitar version of "Love You To", "Julia" from the White Album, and "Rain." However, the oddest has to be "Dazed And Chinese," which is Led Zeppelin's "Dazed And Confused" sung in Mandarin Chinese (I AM NOT KIDDING!) It sounds so funny to make me forget the original. And "Four Sticks" is done with a fuzzy bass with some screams and dialogue playing in the background, same style as their take on Gary Glitter's "Rock And Roll Part 2." Mike Nesmith's "Just May Be The One" and Johnny Cash's "There You Go" are two of the other standouts, the latter done without any tricks, but when did Cash attach a clip of someone praising the death of Leonid Brezhnev, "jailer of his own people, the slavemaster of Eastern Europe, the butcher of Afghanistan?""So Help Me God" has audio excerpts from Nixon's losing speech from 1962 for the California governship, and his victory speech from 1968, while an acoustic guitar plays a sober melody, with some pounding drums coming in at one point. The title comes from the last four words of Nixon's swearing in for another four year term."Reaganation" is by far my favourite, an Irish drinking song where Ann puts down Reagan, and his military actions, fighting for the rights of the rich. Cool lines: "he's just an a----le like you," "he smiles when he gives you the shaft/if you think that he cares for poor folks/well then I surmise that you're daft." "to some they're American heroes/to us they're american cr-p." Oh yes, Magnuson is on the politically left, in case one didn't twig that.Songs like "Ride My Seesaw" and "USO" are cacophonies of music, noise.Acquired taste does not begin to cover this album's material. Me, I like it for its experimental, deranged, demented, and eccentric material. Of Bongwater's four releases, this is the best and weirdest."
Joshua Jones | Spring, TX United States | 02/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the only release I have heard from this band. I first heard them during a 'trip' session with some friends of mine. I was very impressed with their sound experimentation and the atmosphere they create with their music. This album is a journey... Very psychedelic..."