The Other Planets Discrete Manipulations

[Attention Spaniel; 2005]

Styles: quirky, comedic, fun, thoughtful, weird
Others: Need New Body, Captain Beefheart, Raymond Scott, Frank Zappa

Coming straight out of New Orleans, The Other Planets' debut packs quite the skewed and whimsical musical wallop. Combining freak rock, avant-jazz, comedy, social commentary, and electric noises, The Other Planets concoct an intensely engaging sound that propels the sextet's self-described "eclectic gonzo musical ensemble."

Led by percussionist/vocalist/composer Anthony Cuccia (along with "conceptual puppet-mastery and derangement counseling from Dr. Jimbo Walsh), The Other Planets' bread and butter is a miasma of quirky melodies and off-time rhythms sprinkled with a healthy dose of instruments (bass, drums/percussion, vibraphone, bass/baritone sax, guitar, and group vocals), disconcerting synthesizer noise, and snarky Zappa-isms reminiscent of a more song-oriented Need New Body. While it's certainly true that the group owes a great deal of debt to the Mothers of Invention, I never once found Discrete Manipulations to be some half-assed attempt to emulate señor Zappa, but rather a natural mingling of different styles from a group of a educated, talented musicians with a serious idiosyncratic streak.

The songs seem to jump all over the place like an excited kid in a Toys-R-Us. Tracks like "Ruger: The Punishment: The Tribute" and "How Do I Get Her To Give Me What I Want?" brim with exuberance and assured playing from all parties involved, while collages like the anti-Bush screed "Gosh, Pop. I'm Sure Dumb" and "I Hope I Don't Die Counting Money" show an earnest left-wing slant that grounds Discrete Manipulations' more fanciful songs. The album's highlight, however, has to be opener "Will You Adhere?", a rip-roaring ditty about what could be either a subservient relationship, some political rant, or both. And with a bridge straight out of We're Only In It For The Money, I guarantee this song will not leave your brain for the remainder of the century.

As The Other Planets' bio states, "this is a band for the composer, the improviser, and the serious American beer drinker," and I feel like this sums up the band's modus operandi perfectly. Imagine an experimental rock band that, through the power of fun-filled tunes, has the ability to reach listeners of all walks of life regardless of their knowledge of Stravinsky or Varése. The effect is something along the lines of the Simpsons (at least pre-13th season Simpsons): The Other Planets can get away with their brand of esoteric, politically-charged avant-rock without pandering to the lowest segment or dumbing down their approach for the chin-stroking set, and in doing so, will no doubt take over the world.

1. Will You Adhere?
2. How's McFatter Doing?
3. How Do I Get Her To Give Me What I Want?
4. Walking Porno Zombies
5. Hector Detector
6. Gosh, Pop, I'm Sure Dumb.
7. We're So Hip.
8. Ruger: The Punishment: The Tribute
9. Living In Harmony With Fuel Efficient Machinery
10. Daddy, What's A Dropout?
11. I Hope I Don't Die Counting Money