Big Clown Big Clown cassette
Excellent blast of high-speed screech-punk from this Memphis band, collecting two previously released tapes and a live set from Gonerfest. The band lays down fast and freaky riffs while vocalist Lucy sings in a pitch and style nestled somewhere between Poly Styrene and Carrie Brownstein. I thought there were dual vocalists until I heard the live tracks and read the liner notes, since many songs have them overdubbed an octave apart. It sounds awesome—immediate, frenetic, and intense. Not that the songs or band sound particularly angry. Take “Freaky,” a bubblegum pop tune enveloped in distortion and dirt that stands out as a little capsule of joy. Lucy sings “You don’t have to be nice to me / You don’t have to be nice to me / You don’t have to be nice to me / I know that you think I’m freaky” as a one-minute declaration of independence from the normies of the world. “Burger Salad” is another fun one that swirls with dissonant guitar lines, handclaps, and a sing-along chorus of “I wanna eat my burger salad.” Although frequently a joyous bounce, there are heavy moments of fast, churning punk like opener “Smell a Rat,” the raucous and atonal scream duet on “Hissy Fit,” and the chaotic blastbeat outro on “Big Girl.” The Gonerfest set sounds amazing, with the band jamming in absolute pro-mode. The only thing I don’t understand is the lack of audience sound. BIG CLOWN deserves a crowd into this as much as the band is. Recommended!