Soundchecks Music Reviews

In COG We Trust

Little Blue Men LBM 106

The Consortium Of Genius

review by Christopher Geary

Offering a whole lot more quirky entertainment value than just another novelty recording, this is a sharply humorous and edgy combination of high camp Rocky Horror Show hilarity and rock satire in the 'Spinal Tap mode. Operating from their secret lab, The Consortium Of Genius wields power chords and brutal riffs of heavy metallic varieties, while cleverly subverting the pomp sci-fi concept album pretensions of progressive rock. The musicians' role-playing with genre icons and cultural stereotypes, with crude mad-scientist alter egos and their sidekicks (comicbook style artwork on the CD packaging provides visuals to complement the audio product) is too intentionally absurd - and quite genuinely amusing - to be offensive or even vulgar. With their unfaithful and rebellious 'drumbot', the COG band is nearly a five-piece: singer and keyboard player Lewis D'Aubin is Dr Milo T. Pinkerton III, bass-man Jim Fairchild is the swami Indian-styled guru Dr Z, and guitarist Jeff King is Dr A, while backing vocalist Liz Streckfus is 'Lab Girl VI' (there's no telling what happened to the other five).

I Have The Power has mockingly boastful lyrics about the cult of personality and the gullibility of fandom. LoBoToMy concerns the desirability of brain surgery (especially for politicians) to relieve the pressures of modern living, and includes helpful advice on how to perform a DIY version. Destroy Old Things kicks against rampant consumerism and all that's faddish and trendy, before descending into nihilism. Before listening to Reach Out And Touch The Hand, there's another one of COG's humorous interludes, warning us that the hand in question has a life of its own despite being armless.

The album continues with this mix of irreverence (philosophical statement or meaningless drivel?) with Placebo!, the chant-heavy Chati Che Cow, and Why Do We Do It ("because we're scientists"), which leads us to the gross horror of feel-bad roadkill anthem Yer Dawg Iz Ded. Changing gears from death to sex, Showerhead is a smutty little ditty ("I ain't jealous of the showerhead" - figure it out, okay?) unlikely to get airplay on family-orientated radio shows. A cult classic in the making, Born In The South, wickedly spoofs the yahoo rhetoric of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, going one step further in a wry game of one-upmanship ("Dixie's got nothin' on me, I'm just as far south as I can get") by claiming origins and residence in Antarctica.

Dr Z struggles manfully to acquire a harem in Funky Fresh, with guest musician Rick Naqvi on sitar, and Bucket Of Blood is a nifty tale about the drinking habits of vampire pirates (coining the genre term 'vampirates'). Final track, Just A Drumbot is, of course, a break for stardom by the enslaved percussion machine, threatening homicide from virtuality with a raspy electronic voice that sounds exactly like Eddie the 'Heart of Gold' ship computer from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy TV series, although drumbot's program-persona seems more like a cousin of Marvin the paranoid android.

Wacky, peculiar and offbeat, this is certainly worth a listen if you enjoy witty genre parodies, just don't trust that drumbot... or that mischievous Pinkerton fella.

Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press