Monday, April 26, 2010

Mute Pt.: Aardvark Spleen "Center of the Universe"

Is there a Rhode Island "sound"? Is it some combination of Canned Heat, Jim Hensons' Muppet Show and a philosophical inquiry into cannibalism? If you're listening to Dr. Zeke and Aardvark Spleen, the answer is yes, without a doubt.
The new disc, "Center of the Universe" is Spleen's first since 1999's "Love of Wisdom". This group opens fresh in 2010 with Cosmic Sludge, a little reminiscent of Floyd on "One of these Days" and it's mellow sax intro. The first line of the album tells you just where these guys are coming from; "Listen to the preacher lie...explain away cro-magnon man."
Where are they actually from? I think that's answered in the super stompy blues of Foster. Don't listen to this one before bedtime kids. If you want to relax, pick Smells So Good which sounds like a loaf of freshly baked bread.
When I heard Them Last Ten Beers which features a couple of solos containing 9.6 percent alcohol, I felt like I was there. Streaking, fighting ,whatever, it's hard to resist the simple charms of a good old party song. Sober up at the Chinese Buffet, try the sweet and sour kitten or consult with Lao-Tzu "who proclaims I need no virtue..." So goes our journey to the exactly will we get out?
The harmonic lament of I Killed the Dinosaurs begins the second half, setting in motion the de-volution that may lead to a Shellfish Orgy. This is not a metaphor: "The hardshells...will be oozing slimy fluids tonight!" This song also contains a stinkin' hot slide solo, possibly my favorite moment on the whole disc. What happens when plants gain self awareness? They conspire to Eat the Vegetarians (and the Vegans too). Gimme Money sounds more like Captain Beefheart falling off stage at a blues festival every time I hear it. Everybody loves Grampa, and it might be Aardvark Spleens signature tune.

The fun and the hard work that created this disc is evident in every tune. Leave it to Paul "Dr.Zeke" Swift, Tim Johnson, Scott Ulricksen, Erik "Spiney Norman" Ryfa, Harold Lawton, Christine Andrade, and Chris Lussier to bring this mix of rock, blues, and existentialist thought to life with such energy and freedom. Here's to the Rhode Island sound of Aardvark Spleen. You can buy it on iTunes or from the band through Facebook.