Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Devin Townsend - Punky Brüster - Cooked On Phonics (1996)

I like to refer Devin Townsend as the Jim Carrey of metal, mostly because he can come up with some really crazy shit, and this album is one of those crazy shits. "Punky Brüster - Cooked On Phonics" (the names are puns of Punky Brewster and Hooked On Phonics) is a concept album about a Polish death metal band named Cryptic Coroner. The band is struggling to make a living out of their music. But one day during a show, when one of the members brakes a string, the band finds a more punk rock style. After that, their career rises like a rocket and they also change their name to Punky Brüster, but the price is that they have sold their souls and now creates music that they do not give a shit about.

This is definitely a fun concept, but it also has some truth in it. Think about it. The music industry today works that people like Miley Cyrus and Lil Wayne, who does practically nothing, gets tons of recognition while artists that writes their own music and really works passionately for their music does not get squat. Yeah, the music industry is pretty fucked up, but we already knew that.

The music on this album is, not surprisingly, punk rock, so do not expect any developed metal madness from this record (except for the first part of the opening track "Recipe For Bait"). There is a big lack of variety in this album and if it was not for the dialogues, this album would be a big mash of fast riffs and easily digestible rock. In other words, a very bad album.

The only two good punk songs on this album is the classic old school punk song "Wallet Chain" and the fast and hooky "Fake Punk". I can also enjoy "Heinous Anus" and "Ez$$" from time to time. But it stands clear that the music is best when it leans more towards old school punk a la Sex Pistols instead of the more skate punk oriented style.

It is the comedy and dialogues that are the star of the show, and hearing Devin interpret the story in a pretty silly voice is just hilarious. But what is even more funny is following Cryptic Coroner's transformation from being heavy metal guys with dark and growling voices to lame punk guys with squeakier voices than Alvin and the chipmunks. It is also easy to feel sorry for the guys who have sold their souls and all they end up to show for is squeaky voices, a Grammy award and fake groupies who are not willing to go all the way when they discover the band's "horrible" secret.

As a concept, this is an excellent album, but as a musical piece, "Punky Brüster - Cooked On Phonics" is pretty weak. The variation is no where to be found and the cheesiness level is through the roof. But this is a album that you should not take seriously. Instead, you should embrace the theme and see the silliness in it. If you do that, then there is a slight chance that you will enjoy this album, but I would not count on it though.

Songs worthy of recognition: Fake Punk, Wallet Chain

Rating: 5/10 Heavy Metal Mamas

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