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Tub Ring
Zoo Hypothesis
Underground, Inc.
www.tubring.com


I'm not going to figure this one out. And that is perhaps by design. The word 'fusion' has been applied to forms of jazz, but I think that it is most apt when referring to Tub Ring. Alternately luxuriant and playful, and like the grating of your rotten exhaust pipe on asphalt, Tub Ring never gives you the opportunity to become too comfortable with their music. Their satiric, cult-like lyrics suggest that they want you a little on edge, anyway.

In discussing this album with our esteemed EIC, I managed to equate their music as what might happen if Marilyn Manson had staged a hostile takeover of Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and Bad Religion helped them engineer their multi-track vocals (God only knows where the rest comes from). This is music for people who wear clown costumes and wield chainsaws. Seriously. We had a good laugh over that one, especially since the imagery didn't make a whole lot of sense, but still managed to convey some sort of terrifying vision.

Zoo Hypothesis has as its central theme the idea that the earth was seeded by aliens several thousand years ago, and that we are the result of said experiment. This, and the disturbing imagery of man's evolution and eventual suicide printed on the back of the CD cover, immediately made me think of… (No, not chainsaws.)

And, there it was, the last track: "Vehicle" which necessarily recounts the events of the Heaven's Gate cult that decided one fine day that the arrival of the Kevorkian Deathstar* (aka Hale Bopp) was as good a reason as any to kill oneself. And so, Tub Ring comes off not so much as a band, but as a new religious cult set to scatterbrained music. If you're not one of them, you will be. Zoo Hypothesis forms the great questions that ponder our place in the cosmos; our meaning in existence, and then subsequently answers them in the draconian fashion of cultist demagoguery.

The hard part is trying to figure out who to recommend this album to. The answer is: I don't know. What I do know is that I like it more the more I hear it. (Maybe I'm already being converted?) Their music structure turns on a dime, and is exceptional in its execution, but not everyone can handle being at the end of a musical yo-yo; if nothing else, I try to appreciate its penultimate weirdness. SO, if you want something totally different, here it is.

Now, where did I put that chainsaw?

-JD

* This fine moniker was coined in Nelson Axelrod's indie publication Zeitgeist

Track Listing:

1. Tiny, Little
2. Death Of The Robot
3. The Promise Keeper
4. Sharpening The Sticks
5. I Could Never Fall In Love With You
6. One With My Surroundings
7. Habitat
8. The Night Watch
9. Dog Doesn't Bite
10. Alexander In Charge
11. Raindrops
12. The Viking Song
13. We Are The Righteous
14. Return To Me
15. Wealth of Information
16. Vehicle


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Mike Doughty



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