Comparisons to They Might Be Giants are imminent, but, personally, that's one I just haven't heard for long enough. What happened to the days of the Giants and the Dead Milkmen paying homage to the bizarro, bleach-drinking tendencies of their mothers--those of invention, that is? From the geekiest element rock has ever let on stage (an accordion) to the keyboard super-clean synth known only to New Age, video games, and Japan for Sale compilations, SnMnMnM ("S and M and M and M," not, "Snuhminuhminuhm") can make you laugh, bob your head and grimace at one take. As entertaining and amusing as are their musical stylings, their writing is equally on par, without a doubt. Lyrically, they are more mainstream than TMBG, but just as funny and irreverent ("If I could find another girl better than you/then I could walk on top of water/and rock out to some Slaughter..."
). I think they get bonus points for name-dropping one of the most embarrassingly untalented "rock ensembles" of the last 15 years. For example, Asbestos Weekend
, a recent EP, gives us the memorable lines: "Who is that guy in polyester pants and looking oh, so cool? His name is Disco Barry Superstar, a disco-dancing fool.
" This is from a '70s remembrance/remorse track, "Disco Barry," the first 30 seconds of which are wrought with a muted trumpet, accordion and enough distortion to sound like the low-fi soundtrack of an old Italian movie, before segueing inexplicably into a drum kit and aquatic disco backbeat not unlike a Cardigan's album (not that, uh, I ever owned one). Somewhere, somehow, someone is blowing bubbles and stomping their scuff-marked platforms on a panel-lit floor.
It's official--geek rock is still cool. At least to those of us who are still a bit geeky ourselves.
SnMnMnM plays with Nut Magnet and The Pinkslips, Sept. 4 at Local 506, celebrating the release of their album Power Pack Horse Crunch,
www.snmnmnm.com, www.nutmagnet.net, www.hamneggs.net/pinkslips.