"I’m too sacred for the sinners/And the saints wish I would leave." - Mark Heard
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Review - Terry Scott Taylor - Return To The Neverhood
In the beginning Doug Tennapel, creator of Earthworm Jim, also created The Neverhood by utilizing hundreds of pounds of clay. And Doug said unto Terry Taylor, “Make me music that sounds like clay.” And Terry did. And it was very good. So good, in fact, that it won awards and cavalcades and a round of congratulatory back slaps so robust that Terry sought the anointing of St. Benjamin Gay.
Many years later, for reasons unknown to us mere mortals, after twenty years Doug and Terry decided to Return To The Neverhood, although substituting a more cost-effective comic book over a claymation-based video game. As I dearly loved to squishy, malleable, goofy, inarticulate music of the original I dutifully shelled out some cash but braced myself for the worst because we all know that sequels almost always stink like a three day old diaper. I’m happy to say that despite a reference to “pooping my pants” in the Spanish flavored song “The Love Sweet Love Suite” there is nothing stinky about Return To The Neverhood. You gots yer standard Dixieland combo on psychotropic drugs, a smattering of ethereal Star Trek vocals, a few jazzy combos with scorching trumpets, general goofing around and oodles of sticky melodies. In essence you’ve got everything that made the original so endearing. A favorite track is “Huh?” which is a peppy surf-like ditty punctuated by sax and clarinets that every now and then breaks into a spacey gush of noise that causes the mush-mouthed vocals to exclaim, “What’s going on here?” and “I don’t get it.” Seriously, I want this played at my funeral. Another zinger is “It’s a Ding Dang Day,” a lo-fi bluegrass romp that packs four minutes of fun into one minute. “Fishin’ With The Sculptor” perfectly captures the essence of the original Neverhood theme without directly quoting it, throwing in a drunken horn section that proudly makes a number of musical and amusical sounds not appropriate for mixed company.
Listen to this avant-garde folk album at your own peril: you may find yourself singing the nearly-legible lyrics at work, home, or play, thus bringing the curious looks of onlookers looking your way. You’ll have a “ding dong dickey dang day” and it will be very good.