The Squishees, Strands and Drools EP

The Squishees, Strands and Drools EP

The Pasadena goofballs formerly known as the Slurpees, forced to change their name by 7-11, continue to expand their no-longer-conventional definition of punk, creating for this EP, Strands and Drools, some kind of weird cross between mutant prog, post-rock and space-alien funk fusion. Drummer Jason Tortorice really comes into his own here, getting around the kit and the beat quite impressively. Prime examples of the raw power of the Squishees are “Bobbysox,” a bizarro-world ZZ Top stomp with a salty sense of humor, herky-jerky timing, and a wicked solo, and the improv jam “Zindler’s Lobe,” which might as well be “Don Caballero 4” until it breaks into Minutemen-inspired funk, then heads off to Sabbathland and parts unknown. Even the rather silly “Bacon” comes off well when played by such imaginative musicians. Less successful is “The Theory of Billy and the Train,” an eight-and-a-half minute dirge, less theory than half-assed epic poem, that tells the story of an unfortunate boy who is hit by a train and cut in half. I trust I will spoil nothing if I reveal that both halves survive and that one of them is — gasp — evil. Despite its problems, even this song is hardly weak, instrumentally speaking.

This music is virtuosic and ambitious, while retaining a visceral punch — and yet it’s almost anti-commerical in its bizarre and idiosyncratic approach. Such a mixture, to me, seems quintessentially Houstonian in its artistic isolation. The Squishees represent the gritty, organic, and unpredictable sprawl of our city as well as anyone.

(Smelly Menace Records; The Squishees --

Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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