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Idiot Flesh - Tales Of Instant Knowledge And Sure Death CD (album) cover


Idiot Flesh



3.76 | 22 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars After releasing highly eclectic weirdo cassette-only demos as Acid Rain, the freak show that consisted of Nils Frykdahl and Dan Rathbun with David Shamrock changed its name to IDIOT FLESH before releasing its first official vinyl LP titled TALES OF INSTANT KNOWLEDGE AND SURE DEATH. While Frykdahl and Rathbun would stay together for three albums as IDIOT FLESH and then form Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Shamrock opted out of the IDIOT FLESH party and hooked up with other equally strange bands like Hieronymous Firebrain.

IDIOT FLESH took everything laid out in the Acid Rain demos and made it even more whacky. First of all Frykdahl and Rathbun joined forces with Gene Jun (guitar, vocals), Daniel Roth (piano, tax, drums, metal percussion) and Chuck Squier (drums) to create a larger than life band sound rather than a trio of crazy musicians going absolutely nuts. This official debut was also the turning point where the band became more theatrical and began implementing everything from marching band routines, puppet shows and the playing of household items as instruments.

The band adopted the slogan "rock against rock" which was aimed at the commercial nature of where most rock music had gone. TALES was a clear middle finger to the music industry with an avant-discordant blend of funk rock, avant-prog, Eastern European folk music, opera and even a touch of metal at times. Sounding something in the line of fellow Bay Area band Nuclear Rabbit or the debut album from Mr Bungle who they often get accused of sounding like, it should be remembered that as Acid Rain, Frykdahl and Rathbun were already conjuring up strange funk rock based avant-prog as far back as 1985 before Mr Bungle and similarly minded bands even existed.

While not as sophisticated as the following two IDIOT FLESH releases, TALES more than makes up for any fine-tuning of compositional fortitude with spontaneous eruptions of passionate punkish creativity. The main style in play is funk rock which acts as the canvass upon which to pain a colorful surrealist portrait of various moods and styles. While the avant-prog wizardry isn't as prevalent as it is on future releases or as heard in the perfection of the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum releases, on TALES the oddball time signature deviations often occur as unexpected hairpin turns into the very weird much in the vein of classic Zappa at his most wild and unruly.

The band was eccentric in every way in how it dressed, in how it performed and of course in its musical maelstrom potpourri of strange twisted ideas run amok. In addition the band adopted crazy pseudonyms such as Captain Dragon (Gene Jun), The Improver (Dan Rathbun), Pin (Nils Frykdahl), a trait that would remain with all future members of the band. A wild and unhinged album, TALES OF INSTANT KNOWLEDGE AND SURE DEATH showcases the unbridled passion of all the musicians on board with no time to employ the brakes for any reason. This is a let it all out sorta release with one bizarre twist and turn after another. You really can't predict anything that happens on this one. It even ends with a weird noise segment that leaves your nerves more tattered than before. This is for the hardcore crowds only.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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