All LPs include a download code and come housed in a fancy old-school tip-on jacket. FERGUS & GERONIMO return with their second full-length record, "Funky Was The State of Affairs", a sixteen-track weirdo-opus about aliens, mind-control, conspiracy theories, and intergalactic courtship. Also: numbers, symbols, parties, Heather Strange, and LSD. The record is entirely unpredictable, even as it tackles reoccurring themes, including "aliens, technology, intergalactic dating/hooking up, the Roman Empire, and the earthling resistance movement." At times the story seems filtered through the earthling point of view;
in the next, extraterrestrials listen to phone-tapped conversations by some understandably paranoid humans. Though at times it sounds like fairly serious subject matter, the group employs a sharp-tongued attack with the same sort of gallows humor cracked wise by the likes of their equally Doubting Thomas inspirational figures, everyone from the Mothers of Invention to Devo. Within the first few minutes, the tone is set;
the bright, spiky, opening track over a Krautrock rhythm, "No Parties," contains a line summarizing the restlessness caused by the alienation of modern habits, sung in a mock-English accent: "Collecting devices, you're paying the prices/Of overconsumption, with mental destruction." Founding member Andrew Savage is very conscious of the risks the band took, the changes that were made in order to avoid being marginalized. "Basically, its a dystopian sound-scape of our civilization's collapse," says Savage. Indeed, those feelings of dread are sometimes instrumentally emphasized by passages of synthesizer static and noise, which Savage attributes to being influenced by groups like Chrome. New members Bob Jones (guitar, bass, analog synth) and Jef Brown (Tenor Sax) also add to the playful chaos. Savage says the original duo of Jason Kelly and him added members in order to achieve "the tightness that can only come from recording with a live core," as "musicianship is extremely important to Jason and I.". Since Brown and Jones both played in the self-explanatory Evolutionary Jass Band - which evolved out of the equally experimental Jackie-O Motherfucker - there is an expansion in the group's improvisational capabilities that wasn't as obvious on past recordings. Yet nothing sounds forced, each interlude is enjoyable, each hip-hop-inspired skit serves a narrative-pushing purpose. The record bounces from Booker T-styled soul ("Wiretapping Muzak I and II") to early 80s New York dance rock ("Marky Move") with an immodest ease. "Hi, I'm Heather Strange, and I'm a 23-year-old human earthling female" says a woman between the first and second track. "Really, I'm just looking for a man whose cerebral capabilities haven't been fried by LCD screens yet." Most people reading this might be able to relate to Heather's plight, or worse yet, sink under the weight of being the type of person she's desperately seeking to avoid. But such is the genius of FERGUS & GERONIMO. They have made all of these variously opposing forces;
dark and light, alien and earthling, melody and noise, condemning and being condemned, something that you feel like listening to over and over again. If only to hear what happens next.
Vinyl, LP, Album