The Drool Brothers – S/T

Allow me to first acknowledge the fact that the Drool Brothers’ self-titled CD is one of the strangest (and most fun) listening experiences I’ve had in quite some time. I mean that in the best way possible, as I was pleasantly surprised with the band’s somewhat electronic take on what can best be described as a blend of indie rock, funk and soul.
The three-minute “Fullerton” opens the disc with a combination of GBV-esque verses and funky choruses, while “Chicken Stix” begins the veering away from rock with a funky bassline, wah-wah drenched rhythm guitars, and quick saxophone fills. “Masking Tape” is a pretty senseless electronic interlude centered around a man’s request for – you guessed it – masking tape. “Can’t Lick It” is a fuzz-buster guitar rocker with a post-chorus bridge that consistently reminds me of Ric Ocasek. Lest the band be pigeon-holed, however, they do manage to toss in a cool keyboard/xylophone spot that brings back memories of old Nintendo themes.
“Skeleton Girl” is a soul-rooted love song gone awry. Screw Barry White or Luther Vandross – I want the Drool Brothers playing next time I’m in the mood for love. This tune is definitely one to get your groove on to. “Bucket Man” is heavy on the 60’s-sounding keyboards – I can totally hear this song in the soundtrack to some Blaxploitation movie. The best way to describe it is early-1990’s Red Hot Chili Peppers on Ritalyn. “Too Many Words” is a catchy, up-tempo rocker built around the chorus of “Too many words, Not enough ears.” Cool lyric, though the song eventually slows up for a poppy ending.
By far, though, my favorite track on the album is “Blue Velvet Pig Mask.” Simply put, this song would be the ULTIMATE porno soundtrack song for the year 2001. The chorus had me rolling in my cubicle for an entire day at work (“Put on the Blue Velvet Pig Mask/Turn me around and spank me in the butt/Put on the Blue Velvet Pig Mask/Bark three times and call me a slut”). The music rules, too – a slow, deliberate funk track with a killer guitar solo that manages to be effective, but not too flashy. Of course, in typical porno-love-theme fashion, the track clocks in at over seven minutes.
“Happiness Fair” is another unnecessary (albeit disturbing) interlude built around electronic voices, random beats and guitars, and a carnival conversation that just distorts into weirdness. “Can’t Stand the Heat” is a really groovy and soulful number that reminds me a lot of Satchel. This is probably actually the best all-around song on the disc, thanks to the cool Motown-y backing vocals and the dirty-guitars-and-handclaps chorus. The five-minute instrumental “Lay Wid It” proves that the Drool Brothers most definitely got soul, mixing a funky rhythm with soulful horns for quite an effect. The disc’s final track, the ‘Disco Mix’ of “Halloweenish,” is another strange mix of samples – drum beats, bass, quicky guitar riffs, obnoxious laughter and various voices are all game. The middle of the track drops out for a conversation about a ‘job interview’ that turns into a laugh-out-loud moment, even if it does make me stop every time and think, “WTF?”
All in all, the Drool Brothers have put together a nice little package of music. It does seem rather strange at times the way the band jumps from rock to funk to soul and back, but the Afghan Whigs did it for years and they were successful. This release proves that ‘fun’ music can still be just as cool as ‘serious’ music without having to sacrifice any kind of musical competency in turn.