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Oingo Boingo - Good For Your Soul CD (album) cover


Oingo Boingo


Crossover Prog

4.70 | 30 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars OINGO BOINGO seemed to be on top of their game all throughout the new wave rich early 80s where they managed to stand out like a soar thumb with their unique herky jerky ska infused pop rock that implemented a fiery horn section and ample use of African rhythms and percussive drive. Their third album GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL found band leader Danny Elfman and the gang diversifying their style even further with not only the expected upbeat synthesized ska punk meets swing revival but added still more elements of ska and several tracks that offered a softer touch. Elfman began as somewhat of a Wazmo Nariz worshipper with his nasal induced high pitched vocal style with squeals but by album number three he found his comfort zone in not only the frenetic freak fueled lyrical delivery but also found new ways of scaling the octaves that implemented many different vocal phrasing techniques.

Despite a large lineup of eight musicians that covered guitar, bass, synthesizers, drums, keyboards, clarinet, alto and baritone sax, trumpet and trombone, the members remained the same and allowed the band to develop a chemistry that would take them to the next level and as phenomenally awesome as OINGO BOINGO's first two albums were, GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL is even better with each track standing out from the rest and the album flowing rather nicely without a weak moment. Likewise the lyrical content was much darker tackling everything from the supernatural on "Dead Or Alive" as well as inspiration from H.G. Wells' "The Island Of Dr. Moreau" in "No Spill Blood." Likewise the track "Wake Up (It's 1984)" finds Elfman lamenting the real year coming to a reality soon as he references the famous George Orwell novel.

For some reason, GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL tends to get overlooked in the band's discography in favor of albums such as "Only A Lad," "Nothing To Fear" or "Dead Man's Party," however this is one of the most diverse and therefore the most interesting of their entire canon with a frenzy fueled jaunt from one high energy zolo ska punk jazz track to the next with each track exhibiting a ridiculously high ear worm hook factor that guarantees and instantly addictive listening experience that begs for repeated spins again and again and again. Just listen to the opening track "Who Do You Want To Be" with its hot groovy bass line and jittery guitar performances as they back up by Elfman's idiosyncratic vocal charisma and the perfect horn section counterpoints that complement the bass and drum dynamics. It's just too good to be true!

As with all the early OINGO BOINGO albums, there's a strange charm in how the tracks are crafted with a steady galloping groove that adds subtle time signature changes here and there just to mess with you mind. The arrangements are simply divinely designed with the perfect marriage of funk, ska, jazz, rock and synthpop all shakin' their bad ass booties like a drunken stripper in the Red Light District. The tracks "Fill The Void" and "Nothing Bad Ever Happens" incorporate cool African percussion as well. Once again all the tracks were written by Danny Elfman who saw a huge growth spurt from the previous album but he cleverly retained all of the traits from the past and merely built upon and around them.

Two of the more unusual tracks for the band were the two closers "Pictures Of You" which found Elfman sort of crooning in a Gothic Cure sort of way with a female voice in harmony. It's more of a synthpop track sounding like the Human League and eschews the horns. "Little Guns" sounds a bit like a spaghetti western type of Wall Of Voodoo new wave track only with that bouncy sound from the "Only A Lad" album (tracks like "Nasty Habits.") only with a sizzling jazzy sax solo to give a little extra oomf. Yeah, OINGO BOINGO were on fire and no one else came close in sounding like the fusion pot that they had concocted at this point where they sound like a mix of Talking Heads, Wall Of Voodoo, Wazmo Nariz, Human League and Madness. As far as i'm concerned, GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL is their third new wave masterpiece in a row. This was the last album for A&M Records and the quality would diminish after this excellent work.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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