They Shoot Horses Don’t They? Boo Hoo Hoo Boo

[Kill Rock Stars; 2006]

Styles: freaky kaleidoscopic circus-rock with multiple influences and instruments
Others: Man Man, Xiu Xiu, that over-referenced Beefheart dude (but for real this time)

Ahem, excuse me, but cough-HOLYFUCKINGSHIT-cough... trumpet stuck in my bum... insane fops chanting and dancing polka in my belly... a licorice rope umbellical cord... circus freaks peddling Miracle Scrote-Gro in my cranium...

[lurched from sleep, sitting up in bed]

Jesus, what a dream! Man, this kooky rapid-eye-movement vision reminds me of my many attempts to review Boo Hoo Hoo Boo by They Shoot Horses Don't They?. I just couldn't do it. This album hit that nerve that all reviewers have; that dimple, that button that when pushed can leave a writer writhing in agony on the floor. Writer's block? Hell-to-the-nizo; this is much worse.

So now, after multiple leads have been snuffed out and several tie-ins suffocated, I am left with no choice: I must resort to the track-by-track round-up, a rarely used, much-ballyhooed tactic. Yeah, I wish they'd bring back Sledge Hammer!, too. Episode 2 of the first season was even called "Hammer gets Nailed"; you just don't find that kind of cleverness on TV these days. Now every cop drama is nothing but M. Chiklis or some other bald, secretly dandy actor slamming some ex-rapper into a van, shoving a gun into his mouth and saying "I WANT SOME ANSWERS AND I WANT THEM NOW!" And know what? I've NEVER SEEN them not get answers. Just once I'd like to see the criminal spit in his face and take the consequences, thus calling Chiklis' bluff and exposing his tutu. Just once.

Oh right, the track-by-track round-up, shit! Here goes:

Track #1, "Emptyhead": A slow, slammin' backbeat gives way to a syrupy synth line and slippery sax toot. Trumpets, kazoo and all sorts of other riff-raff emerge from an unseen alley and flog the devil-hell out of the singer, who exits for the last minute or so of the song. Man, Man Man doesn't seem so... manly anymore, outside of a live setting at least.

Track #2, "Hiccup": This song stretches out with a torrent of discordant noise and what sounds like more goddamn trumpet. I always hated trumpet players in school band; thought they were so big because they could play over everyone, even us drummers. This trumpeter is obviously of that ilk. Thankfully his band rocks fucking ass. This track is dirtier than pig brains in Jell-o and seven times smellier.

Track #3, "Sunlight": My stomach heavy with goat meat, I almost spew out every last flank-chunk when "Sunlight" squeaks through my ear cavities. Crazy sax, tapping tambourines, acoustic guitar holding it all together. This is either my lucky day or They Shoot Horses', because I'm pretty sure I "get it" now. Not that it's the punchline to a joke, but you know what I mean you goddamn sandbagger.

Track #4, "Seeds": Entry no. four marks the beginning of the Catchy Chorus Sweepstakes, to be in continuance until the end of the album. Hot-damn, these refrains will stick in yer head like BubbleYum in yer hair. I remember shaving my head once to get rid of gum; could a lobotomy be too far away? The faintest hint of rock-a-billy guitar almost makes me reference the Reverend, but not quite ... in fact, forget I mentioned it.

Track #5, "The Bugs": Those who compare this band to Neutral Milk Hotel – yes, YOU – prove that most of us still aren't ready for In the Aeroplane Over the Sea OR Boo Hoo Hoo Boo. But I already knew that; what I didn't know is how much I really like music my co-workers at The Daily Planet (workplace pseudonym) will definitely, without-a-doubt hate. Again, fuck 'em!

Track #6, "Three": Who is the dimwit that envisioned this track-by-track business? Oh yeah, that was me. Well balls to this. It's just not realistic. Do I have a spare seven hours to spend reviewing each and every CD I receive? YES, but I'd rather be fishin' trout out of yonder river. So let's wrap this package up and add the bow, shall we? Military snare marches, clots of rusty clarinet and trombone and trumpet and sax, zany vocals straight from a straightjacket savant and synths-a-plenty are the order here, and it's tough not to get caught up in the unmitigated zeal of They Shoot Horses. It's not the sort of stuff that'll move you; you might chicken-strut around the kitchen and do a bump-'n'-grind for the greeter at your local Wal-Mart, but you won't sell all your possessions and move to Nepal or anything. But who wants to move to Nepal?


1. Empty Head
2. Hiccup
3. Sunlight
4. Seeds
5. Bugs
6. Three
7. Concussion
8. Big Dot
9. Lowlife
10. Words
11. Apple

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