DPRP: “Penis Barbecue”

“Give us Barabbas” is the title of one of those bible movies that have their regular TV re-runs during Easter. That alone would make a cool band name. But if we look deeper into it, we find that the main aspect of the movie is the story where Pontius Pilate asks the people of Judea, which person to be freed, the criminal Barabbas, or Jesus Christ, king of the Jews. 

“Give us Barabbas!” shouted the mob, it is said. Now with this critical scriptural incident as a band name in the oh-so religious Italy, the band’s attitude should be obvious. They want to smash! They take nothing serious, least themselves. They’re punks.

What began with Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick – a joke about progressive rock – and got picked up by The Tubes as a musical wagon for their comedy, got endured by Mr. Bungle’s extravaganza and has found life in today’s bands such as Diablo Swing Orchestra and Stolen Babies, now has an Italian flavour added to it: the smash-in-the-face humor of some punks called Give Us Barabba.

So if you’re one of those who only take their music seriously, or just don’t sense the humour, move ahead, skip this review and forget this band. And don’t be ashamed, because you’re by far not alone, I know many people of that kind.
The best references about the music on Penis Barbecue come from the band themselves. They put themselves in the genre “avant-garde metal / regressive metal”, or as they state in the song, My Band Sax, (where the ‘Sax’ is there for the sake of a bad pun): “’cause our sound is cool like Mr. Bungle and Faith No More”.
More precisely, I tend to believe that they’ve listened to Disco Volante a tad too often! Like Mr. Bungle, they drop in any style that fits the lyrics, be it metal, reggae, Italian folk, circus music, electronica or what ever comes along. So they play every genre at once but none in specific.
Lyric-wise the band’s approach isn’t any different. Their humor is offensive, flat, fatuous, yet pubertal. In fact, if you have kids that speak English and/or Italian, I advise you not to play this album to them. The title track, Penis Barbecue, for example is about a witch that cuts off and burns penises. Then there’s the song, Io e Te Senza di Lei, which is about a heterosexual who gets seduced in a homosexual romance. Even if you can connect music with humour, you need some sort of acquired taste in humour for some of these songs.

But some do make me laugh, like the song Devin Townsend, a praise of whom I still do not know if it is meant ironically or not. But when they come up with the lines “Just wanna say “SAsaSAsa”: it means nothing, just for a laugh, ’cause I had no more rhymes in mind!” I have to laugh out loud.
Almost dadaistic are the rhymes in Asselfir Enoisselfir Al. The song’s entire lyrics are like these: “It was an autumn autumn. It was raining the rain.”

All together, with eight songs clocking in at 36 minutes, we have a simple, fun album with great musical variety that even combines trumpet, trombone and sax with metal. Despite the variety in style, everything they play is nothing really special, the band serves different genres, but that’s it, you won’t find any moments of a virtuoso there.

Concerning the humour: it’s okay that it’s not of a kind that I’m much into, I’d just like to have the lyrics being filled with a bit more content. But that’s too personal and can hardly be a matter of rating the album. In the end Penis Barbecue is an enjoyable album and will always be perfect for when you’re in a silly mood.

Rating 6/10

review by Raimond Fischbach

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