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Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra
Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra
(self-released)
www.satanicpuppeteer.com


It would be easy to dismiss this album as a joke… were it not so damned ambitious. While Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra comes off as a crew of uber-literate geeks with way too much time on their hands, the product they turn out is undeniably funny, catchy, and somewhat irresistible. The music is an electronic calliope of beeps that holds together well enough most of the time, except when it doesn't, but what makes this music shine are the vocals of lead "singer" SPO-20. Like a meth-addled Stephen Hawking, SPO-20 robotically meanders his way through the group's original songs, spouting such winsome lyrics as "We've done this before so you know what's up/ I may not be your bookie, but you'd better pay up/ If you weren't in a wheelchair I'd cut off both your legs/ Then I'd unleash some termites on your pegs" while the music sounds like a Casiotone version of mid-80's Madonna elevator music. "I Stole Your Daddy's Time Machine" is a great song, filled with clever 8-bit Atari sounds and ultra-clever lyrics, but by the end of the second song the overall concept begins to lose a bit of its shine. But the sheer self-indulgence of releasing a 4-disc box set for your debut recording is catastrophically confident and not a tiny bit mad. Scattered throughout the B-sides And Covers third disc are some hilarious moments, including covers of The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" re-titled "Robots Can't Cry" and a stirring rendition of Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me". Highlights from the records include "What Is The Most Expensive Way To Feed A Zebra?" and the hilarious "Wolfman Rides A Unicycle". While it is hard to listen to more than a few tracks at once, the off-kilter rhythm of the vocals and the weird flow of the rhymes makes for a great trance-like few minutes before humanity steps back in and makes one wish to kick the metallic teeth out of the robots head. Not simply a novelty record, SPO's debut release is filled with some pretty great stuff, but take it in small doses… for your own good.

-L. Keane


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