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Buckethead - The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock CD (album) cover

THE ELEPHANT MAN'S ALARM CLOCK

Buckethead

 

Prog Related

3.92 | 7 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars As the year 2006 rolled on, the strange artist known as BUCKETHEAD was releasing multiple albums per year with his 17th overall solo offering THE ELEPHANT MAN'S ALARM CLOCK as the first of three for the year. Yet another album recorded in The Slaughterhouse with Dan Monti and Albert lending a hand in the production process as well as Del Rey Brewer contributing some of the songwriting of the all instrumental three quarters of an hour long plus experience. There are a few scant words uttered by Bootsy Collins. As any true BUCKETHEAD fan knows, there are a gazillion different styles of his playing ranging from the sappy slow and melodic resulting in utter gagdom all across the spectrum to the most convolutedly complex weirdness every recorded, at least on Earth. THE ELEPHANT MAN'S ALARM CLOCK has become one of the more popular albums in BH's early egg laying days for it fits on that wide spectrum somewhere in the middle of the extremes with highly accessible melodic approaches nestled in all of the avant-garde weirdness we've come to expect.

The combo effect of funk and metal has always proven to be a strong suit for Mr BH and there is plenty of both on this energetic release that provides ample amounts of head banging fury along with the expected avant-guitar solos while funk bass rules the roost for significant chunks of playing time and bandmate from Praxis in the form of Bootsy Collins even makes a cameo appearance on "Bird With A Hole In The Stomach" where he adds a monstrosity of a space bass solo at the end. An unusual feature for BH at this point anyway is the four part "Lurker At The Threshold" which is a dedication to H.P. Lovecraft. While it may sound like a prog behemoth in writing, all four tracks clock in under ten minutes and go through several BH styles such as slow and mellow melodic introducing features that slowly ratchet up the temp ladder with funk guitar, heavy distorted riffing and guitar solos.

The track "Droid Assembly" is worth mentioning as it has that classic detached groove that i could totally envision BH doing his famous dance to. The electronica based drum sound is followed by a series of angular avant-garde-isms that create a unifying factor of danceability while avant-prog guitars and bass lines flounder all over the place. The cutely named "Fizzy Lipton Drinks," a reference to the 1971 film "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" starts out with an industrial metal type of groove but quickly becomes one of those riff and solo numbers but also jumps into an avant-parade of strange riffs, grooves and guitar squealing as if a pig were sacrificed in the making of this production. Unfortunately the track ends with an annoying bout with silence before a *hidden track* appears. I hate these but was a very nought-y thing to do in the early years of the millennium. After enduring a forced period of meditation we finally get a total funkified only affair with Bootsy Collins making a return and BH adding some counterpoint guitar licks which goes on for a few minutes allowing the two to really get down and dirty.

THE ELEPHANT'S ALARM CLOCK is yet another excellent album in the early BH years when he was only getting started releasing multiple albums per year. While many tout this one as one of his absolute best, i find it a little repetitive at times and doesn't come close to the mind blowing diverse elements and avant-grooviness of album's like "Monsters And Robots." After all, "normal" is for mere bands that didn't obtain their strange and otherworldly powers in chicken coops. This album is nonetheless a great introductory work to BH's overall early works and a mandatory edition for those more into his less adventurous and more in tune with melodies and established rock and metal elements in music. It's certainly an excellent album even if it doesn't rank high in my own personal world but one thing IS for sure and that is that it is indeed a captivating listen throughout its entirety.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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