Monday, August 14, 2017

The Fat Dukes of Fuck's "A Compendium of Desperation, Morality and Dick Jokes"

As Rome burns, I get a record in the mail.

Heavy and funny don't have to be mutually exclusive. Anyone besides me remember Cretin 66, who released the high-larious Demolition Safari on Steel Cage back in 2001? Yeah, I didn't think so. More to the point, think of Turbonegro making the best hard rock record of the '90s with Apocalypse Dudes, on which they dressed up their synthesis of AC/DC-BOC-Dictators in Alice Cooper-cum-Village People drag so out-there that none of their inspirations would have dared imagine (let alone attempt) it.

Which brings us to The Fat Dukes of Fuck, a Vegas-based outfit who have a new elpee (their second full-length) produced by the Deaf Nephews (that being the handle used by the team of Melvins drummer Dale Crover and guitarist-engineer Toshi Kasai). On A Compendium of Desperation, Morality and Dick Jokes, the Fat Dukes' willingness to act the fool can be seen as a sign of supreme self-confidence.

In purely musical terms, these boys are mighty; just take a listen to the scintillating point-to-point fret math of "Whiskey and Bath Water," the pummeling thrash of "Full Metal Jack Off," or the piledriver rifferama that propels "Where Assholes Come To Die" to get a sense of their power. Then, around the third or fourth spin, the lyrics kick in, and they're a hoot. (Having them relatively high in the mix for this kind of thing helps.)

Turn the record over, and "The Monotonous Adventures of a Hopeaholic" details the difficulties of getting laid while driving a mini-van, to music of pseudo-operatic grandeur worthy of Jim Steinman. Oxford comma fans like your humble chronicler o' events get the answer to their question, "What's a morality joke?" on "Promise Keepers," a shot across the bow of fundamentalist extremists that recalls Frank Zappa's on Broadway the Hard Way. These Fat Dukes earn their stripes in the conceptual, comedic, and pure rock power stakes, and the Deaf Nephews make 'em sound real fine on sweet, sweet vinyl (gold translucent, even).


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