Friday, October 22, 2010

Allucaneat- Kidz Eat Free

 "Kidz Eat Free" came out in 1991 on the Ubik Sound label, co-produced by Tim Stroth and Allucaneat.  It stands the test of time, a musical dirty bomb that explodes from the speakers, repulsive and attractive in the same instant.  In 1991, Albuquerque musicians were not in lockstep with the rest of the nation. The local music scene was a speed blender mix of musical influences. Bands were coming up with sounds that were slightly off kilter from the national norm.  Allucaneat was a perfect example, as they transitioned between frat house debauchery and arty introspection with ease.  There's a surprising amount of subtlety and sophistication, rustling beneath the boozy surface of this quartet's only album.  The first thing you notice is Colin Robinson's voice, a rich comprehensible tone that hovers between detachment and intimacy.  However, what truly set Allucaneat apart was Ray's harmonica.  Whether,  floating along in the background or honking away like he had a hell hound on his trail, the harmonica was an integral part of this band's music. The use of a bull roarer (an instrument with roots in aboriginal cultures) also separated  the band from their contemporaries.  Guitarist Damian Wilson plays like buzzards are circling overhead. He furiously fires off every note and riff in his arsenal. Wilson skirts the boundaries between chaos and control, while squeezing an amazing assortment of sounds out of his guitar. No doubt about it, Allucaneat was tight, much tighter than their sloppy drunk live shows would lead you to believe.
To open this album, the band smartly stages a rock opera about self abuse.   Songs about masturbating have been around for a while, some are good (Pictures of Lily) some are bad (She Bop) and some are just crude (I don't wanna be no Catholic Boy).  Someone in the band had a hard-on for Traci Lords, the underage porn queen who reinvented herself as a legit actress.  "lordy miss traci" starts after a raucous intro "told you about traci, my girl traci... lord," the singer pleads and yearns, but it ain't gonna happen "Oh! i wanted to, but she wouldn't let me"   The rhythm section shifts the tempo for the start of  "Yr. Mom" which answers the age old question;  "what's your mom got on?" The closer, "Boner's Hard-on" is a condensed version of the opening track.   "Cumbuahbuah" takes us on a river journey through an intoxicating landscape "It skip glides along on a quiet green stream that is heading it's way to the mouth of the great mother river and then home to sleep" The musical accompaniment echoes  "The End" that opus of murder and incest by The Doors.  The destructive influence of man is evident;  "At this point before, the men in their skiffs, saw the trees on the shore, they towered so tall, but not anymore" A mysterious stranger travels with them, "He's not fluent in their language, though he's picked up on some, he knows  enough, to do what must be done"  Who could the stranger be?, Francis Ford Coppola?  Throughout the song, Damian Wilson's guitar gives the band a sound that's masterfully gorgeous.  While  Ray's  harmonica flits about like a pesky equatorial mosquito.  On "Cumbuahbuah" the group dynamic truly resulted in sheer sonic glory.  
"Doinchay" has most of the vocals buried deep in the mix, making it hard to decipher the lyrics.  Not that it matters, the lyrics are a jumble of surrealistic bullshit,  dark and abstract, like the mind of Picasso.  Colin sings the ridiculous lyrics with conviction,  "man on one knee, his shoe wouldn't fit" or "voodoo lady meditating, eyes in the wall all contemplating" and my personal favorite "standing in judgment with a stomach full of aspirin"  Much like singers who tend to obsess on how words sound, while disregarding clarity or meaning. (Liz Fraser and Chino Moreno for example) Colin turns "Doinchay" into an exercise in vocal calisthenics, at least it had some useful purpose. "Aborigini" opens with the menacing whirl of the bull roarer, every time this song plays I feel a sudden urge to duck.  Anyhow, the fellers were sitting around drinking, when the subject of existentialism came up.  Colin started with "We must perceive God cannot be, for if he was he would besiege" to which Ray answered; "Shut the fuck up and pass me another beer" a determined Colin continued "For if he was, he would revoke, he would deflect, he would protect, he would god!"  To which Ray answered; "Shut the fuck up and pass me another beer"  Feeling shunted Colin exclaimed;  "Hey, I'm feeling a little down.... under, pass me one of those big ass Foster's and I'll show you the way to succeed and the way to suck God"
 "Being on the Ceiling"  allows the entire band to flex their musical muscles, beginning with the instrumental intro and building to the climactic finish. Lyrically the song is a study in minimalism,  "If there was the sky, the ceiling of stars and  you were the aura and you had the way... In my loyal hands, is where you stand."  The frugality of words, coupled with the harmonic motion of the music makes this one of the band's most complete compositions.  Unwavering faith is the subject of "Guilty God"  Jesus Christ had his moments of doubt and pain  "He held out his hands, he held them out for you" fearful all the locals hide their tears of regret. "for you to hold , to help him hold them up" an admonishing voice then adds "you dropped it"  our lack of faith has sealed his fate.  The song stretches across melodic frames as the band switches gears effortlessly, building up a monumental wall of swirling guitar noise.  "Kidz Eat Free" was a powerful combination of poetic imagery, intelligent lyrics and artistic ambition. Allucaneat would also record on the Resin label, releasing a vinyl seven inch. The band which consisted of Colin Robinson (vocals,bass) Damian Wilson (guitar) Ray Gutierrez (harmonica,congas) and Joseph Alan Lujan (drums) also had a track "Ycrad" included on the 1993 New Mexico Music Showcase compilation cd.