Trailer Trash in Space
Strap on your space helmet and give your sister a passionate kiss. Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s reason to celebrate if thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s your thing. In the melodically ambient, if at times lyrically trite realm of the jam band, few new groups underwhelm with the credibility and sheer skill of Oysterhead. Of course these musicians are talented, technically speaking. Just not in synch with each other. The trio is comprised of guitarist Trey Anastasio, of the long successful and recently hiatus-taking Phish, the long forgotten but undeniably musically viable, Primusâ€šÃ„Ã´ Les Claypool on bass, and (â€šÃ„ÃºHey, Remember the 80â€šÃ„Ã´s?â€šÃ„Ã¹) Police drummer Stewart Copeland, all apparently bored or out of money for weed. Whatever the reason for this great convergence, under the name, Oysterhead, the three released The Grand Pecking Order in October of 2001 under the WEA/Elektra Entertainment label, self produced.This thirteen track schmedley is a cornucopia repetitive rif after rif of admittedly skilled guitar licks bouncing as though intoxicated off of hammered bouncing bass lines while the drums attempt to musically detox the rest of the music with a hyper-logical rhythm, interwoven with the occasional synth/moog induced space noise. Lyrically, the album evokes that kid who sat behind you in class saying anything he could think of that would bug you out in that voice- uurgh, that voice. The overall effect is something out of a science fiction novel written in the Bible belt.
Tracks like Shadow of a Man (the epic of a Nam veteran who misnomers his wife) and Oz is Ever Floating (an apparent homage to the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s engineer, Oz Fritz), offer a mellow, moderately dancey, though morbidly unoriginal grooves that are canvas to the poetic equivalent of toddler potty-mouth. When groove is replaced with drum driven string freebasing, such as the band-title track Mr. Oysterhead, things sound like they are looking up (this particular track sinks too, however, with itâ€šÃ„Ã´s unabashed use of the unmistakable, unbearable vocal stylings of one Les Claypool. Ugh, that voice). The songs on the album are otherwise virtually indiscernible from any other song on the album. Come to think of it, they are indiscernible from any other song in the genre, regardless of the performer.
While most musicians from established bands take on a side project, it is to explore themselves musically or say things that arenâ€šÃ„Ã´t necessarily appropriate in their present musical surroundings. Claypool and Anastasio just seem to be playing a musical game of urinal swords while Copeland tries hard to keep the pee off of his leg. As far as what the three are using Oysterhead to say, it falls some where amidst â€šÃ„ÃºTake me to your leaderâ€šÃ„Ã¹, â€šÃ„ÃºHow late is the Piggly-Wiggly open?â€šÃ„Ã¹, and â€šÃ„ÃºDude, can you score me some hash?â€šÃ„Ã¹.
If it is a jam band you seek, up and coming or at least up beat, try !!! (pronounced â€šÃ„Ã²chk chk chkâ€šÃ„Ã´), Moe, or Brotherâ€šÃ„Ã´s Past. If you insist, however, on an aural tour of the deep south- the deep south of Mars, where the space ships all look suspiciously like beat up El Caminos plastered in Dead stickers and all the teenage Martian girls are getting stoned and pregnant before they even drop out of their Martian high schools, give The Grand Pecking Order a listen. It might appeal to you.