By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
This limited-edition 180-gram vinyl pressing is the first release on avant-garde label Free Dope and Fucking in the Streets and the first release from Shits and Giggles, an experimental collaborative between Los Angeles weirdo Ariel Pink and the Vas Deferens Organization, and featuring prominent guest appearances by Dallas free-jazz trumpeter Dennis González and his son, bassist Aaron González, on four of the seven tracks. It's a very impressive—and appropriately bizarre—debut for the label and band.
As the '60s font, fruity cover art and WTF clown and nudity photo on the back would suggest, this album has a very retro feel to it. Were it not for prominent Speak 'n' Spell on "Spellcaster," the closest thing to a cohesive song, the album's jazz-based improvisation, left-field compositional turns and sly sense of humor make it sound like something Frank Zappa would have come up with if he'd relented on his drug-free stance and hit the studio with a sheet of blotter and a tankful of nitrous. Stoned UNT jazz students will have a blast with this album. Backward vocals sound at once threatening and hilarious. Drums run through a phaser effect swoop across the speakers like a lead instrument. Electronic noises, bowed and popped double-bass, and party chatter intertwine like some '70s experimental film gone awry.
Throughout the first half of the album, the elder González's trumpet floats among the noise, sometimes rising to the surface, sometimes adding background texture. Trick or Treat? It's both: a psychedelic trickster of an album, and a treat for those who like their music weird.
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