Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review - The Neverhood

What a wonderfully weird and inventive album! Thankfully they released it three times and it's probably paying for Terry's retirement. I suspect that this music is the reason behind the problems with KMG releasing the early 80s Daniel Amos albums, but that's just an edjumacated hunch. Also they just released Return To The Neverhood which you can get here.

* * * * *

The folks at DreamWorks made a video game like no other, The Neverhood, a bizarre claymation world of strange characters and even stranger happenings. This world needed music as unique as it, and they turned to Terry Taylor. Few recognize his name, even though he has been sternum-deep in music for over twenty years. Regardless, he was up to the task and managed to create the most creative un-video game video game music ever made, so much so that it won some big award for Video Game music of the year. And now it's available to the consumer on an affordable, convenient compact disc.

The music on this CD is impossible to categorize. Drunken blues, psychedelic Dixieland, a jazz combo on powerful hallucinogens. It all fits. Taylor combines acoustic guitar, bass and drums with saxophones, clarinets, banjos and just about any other instrument lying around the studio to create a swirling miasma of plastic sound with an Elfmanesque sense of fun. The lyrics, what little is intelligible about them, are also sung in this same malleable fashion. "Everybody Way-O" is a drunken stumbling of blues. "Homina Homina" ends with wheezy, maniacal laughter that somehow fits perfectly with the music. Most songs are either instrumentals or incorporate nonsense syllables as the main lyrical component while a few attempt such lyrics as "I put 'em in my hat/And I eat 'em just like that/ I put 'em in my ears and in my shoes" from the song "Potatoes, Tomatoes, Gravy, and Peas." Everyone who has heard this CD falls in love with it. My three-year old son is completely fascinated by these strange, syncopated rantings and my wife, usually the first to call my music "weird", has even found herself singing "Dum da dum doi doi" now and then. If for some sad reason you can't find this CD locally, it is available on the web site. You will not be disappointed, but you might be confused.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, September 1998.

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