Listen Up: Wednesday, October 3, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Honchie

Deathfists of Rage (Honchie)

By Ken Shimamoto

Honchie’s all about, uh, juxtaposing disparate musical elements in incongruous ways. That means they throw a bunch of stuff together that doesn’t belong, and the result is so jarring that you either run out of the room or fall on the floor laughing. Their lyrics are either hilarious or puerile, depending. As a former fan of absurdists like Frank Zappa, the Bonzo Dog Band, the Firesign Theater, and the National Lampoon, I think they’re a hoot. If you don’t like the sports-radio station The Ticket, you might not like Honchie either. Forewarned is forearmed.

The opener, “Bitch Stole My Liquor,” is an innocuous little country shuffle with a bludgeoning funk-rock chorus. “Mofo” pits a mellow jazz/R&B verse (with lyrics that’ll never make it to The Oasis) against arena rock. In “Asspants,” pseudo-sensitive lyrics collide head-on with the punchline, “And I will wear my asspants,” set to stately and majestic ascending chords.

These guys are skilled musicians and gifted mimics. Watch out for Rush and Led Zeppelin quotes, not to mention the rewrite of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” as “Mullet Man.” Lyrics aside, “Starflight” could be an actual Rush song, while “Meatseeker” could have emanated from the pen of Prince back during his Dirty Mind heyday. More importantly, Honchie writes engaging melodies and hooks. “Rubik’s Cube” and “Retard Riot” are surprisingly sympathetic portraits of life’s losers.

The production, by OH-no drummer Jim King, is first-rate. This might be the best-sounding local record of the year. Not only that, the disc is sequenced like an LP, the first “side” ends with “Message: Surge” (an answering machine message from frontman Chuck Stephenson’s mom) and the second starts with “Welcome Back,” a kind of “Sergeant Pepper’s Reprise” and band commercial. All that’s missing from this c.d. is Stephenson’s comically hyperactive stage persona.


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