Fatigo Menso

[727; 2005]

Styles: jazz-mariachi-rock fusion
Others: Pak, Camper Van Beethoven

Does humor belong in music? I think we agreed on yes, provided the maker(s) of that music can back it up. In judging Menso, it's important to consider its signature series of epic tales following a polar bear who hates his life in Arizona —a quadrilogy that features two sequels and a prequel spread out over the whole LP. While the title track may be the title track, the artwork shows this melancholic mammal set against a city skyline and desert horizon, proving "White Bear" to be the true centerpiece of this Mars Volta versus Henry Mancini release. Together, the four make up a mini mariachi-rock opera the finest of which Phoenix has ever seen... I guess. I've never actually been to or know anything about Phoenix. I also don't know much Spanish, so much of the title track and select other verses remain a complete mystery to me. But still, I feel this possible quintet, occasional quartet, but most of the time trio has given me at least a small insight into the culture of their native southern state. Who knew that got Frank Zappa down there?

1. Menso
2. White Bear
3. City Mouse
4. The Golf Cart Preacher
5. Television
6. White Bear II
7. Dormido
8. White Bear III
9. Mother Nature's Son
10. Driftwood/No Shame
11. White Bear IV (Prequel)
12. Harps & Sandals

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