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Oingo Boingo - Only A Lad CD (album) cover

ONLY A LAD

Oingo Boingo

 

Crossover Prog

4.25 | 20 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars The process of coming to find this band was a pretty great one. Initially I had heard of them through apparently being quite an influence on 'Mr. Bungle', so I naturally went to check them out, only to become extremely excited once I realised that it was fronted by Danny Elfman. I then realised what a wild ride it would be from the moment I listened to 'Little Girls'. While this music is mostly simplistic and has little to do with prog for the most part, there are definitely some really great things about this album, especially the overall sound having a strong circusy feel to it that I can definitely relate to 'Mr. Bungle' and just Mike Patton's antics in general. The album is also very strong from a melodic standpoint, with each song being built around a couple of riffs and melodies only, but each of them being relentlessly catchy and fun. The final thing that I really love is the lyrical content, having a particular biting satire to many of the songs, along with having a similar sort of perversion or dark edge to their music that could be found in Patton's work.

'Little Girls' starts off the album in a really great way, being a way of instantly establishing the weirdness of the band, contrasting really fun, catchy synthpop melodies with some incredibly unsettling lyrics. This is definitely one of those songs that will worm its way into your head and pop up at the most inopportune times, but I still can't deny that it is really fun to listen to. 'Perfect System' is great as well, having a cool, bouncy bassline with some nice horn arrangements. The next couple of songs continue this pattern of being incredibly fun songs with groovy basslines and some really wild vocal delivery that jumps around a lot. 'You Really Got Me' is a really great 'Kinks' cover that easily beats out the wonderful 'Van Halen' version, along with the original version in my opinion. In general, 'Oingo Boingo' seems to have a knack for making covers, as can also be seen later down the line with the excellent cover of 'The Beatles'' 'I Am The Walrus'. I really love the heavily altered backing vocals especially. The title track is definitely one of my favourite songs on the album, with the first couple of times giving me a genuine chuckle in terms of how funny I found the lyrics. This is combined with it being by far my favourite song on the album from a melodic standpoint, along with being one of the most dynamic offerings, jumping between many different riffs and bridges, telling a whole story within the 4 minutes the song goes for, along with having a hook so catchy that it approaches being maddening. Past this point, the album goes back to being generally highly enjoyable, although at this point there is definitely the knowledge that the album sounds quite similar on the whole. The final song, 'Nasty Habits' is definitely another massive high point, with some more absurd, perverse lyrics, but also has a really great intensity and sense of urgency to it.

All in all, I really enjoy this album, it's catchy and fun, with a really great groove present throughout. While there are still signs of some immaturity and greenness in areas, particularly when talking about how similar some songs sound to one another, this is nonetheless a great debut.

Best Songs: Little Girls, Only A Lad, Nasty Habits

Weakest Songs: Controller

Verdict: Despite some cheesiness in terms of songwriting and instrumentation, particularly in synth heavy sections, this album is a lot of fun and really shows off Danny Elfman's compositional talent. I'd highly recommend giving it a listen.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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