If you are one who thinks John Denver is the peak of musical creativity, read no further. For the rest of us, what you are about to read will boggle your mind and challenge your sense of reality, but I swear on a stack of sausages that it is true. A few years back I reviewed an album called The Neverhood, an award winning collection of songs from the PC game by the same name. This was no ordinary video game music. Rather, it sounded like clay, malleable dixieland blue grass on steroids. This album sold out rather quickly and now goes for over $50 on eBay. The creative brain that brewed this concoction also created music for two subsequent games, Skullmonkeys and BoomBots. Now, for the first time since the birth of Jerry Springer, the music from all three of these games is available on two jam-packed discs for a mere $20 at www.danielamos.com . My earlier review of The Neverhood is available on the extensive WhatzUp's extensive CD Review web page so I'll not repeat the review here except to say that these psychedelic blues songs will soon have you singing along with "Homina Homina!"
The second CD of the set contains twenty-six Skullmonkey songs and five from Boombots. Taking the "monkey" theme into another dimension, many of these almost instrumentals have a strong jungle beat. But variety is key here. Out of the twenty-six songs, you get almost twenty-six different styles of music. Yessum, everything from alpine accordions in 3/4 time with yodeling to wigged out chipmunks to theremins to belly dancing shuffles to spastic ragtime to ... well, you get the idea. Lyrically, this album is much like the first with many nonsense non-sequitur ramblings and few actual "lyrics", though after a few listens, you'll know every grunt and incoherent utterance. "Elevated Structure of Terror" drove my brother Joel to literal tears with its mumbled, drunken lyrics amid Tim Chandlers amazingly inventive bass playing. And then there's "Psychedelic Boogie Child", the 70s disco song full of wahwah pedals, shag carpeting, and lava lamps. Speaking of bonus levels, the amazing bonus level song, imaginatively titled "Lil' Bonus Room", finds Uncle Terry urging the purchase of multiple games because "I get residuals for every game that's sold." Both CDs are headlong hurtles into reckless fun. In addition to their old man, both of my boys love these songs. No one is immune from the infectious insanity that, like a good Bugs Bunny cartoon, contains enough ear candy for the kids and yet has jokes that only adults will get.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, January 2001.