You know that if Lemony Snicket lauds a CD uproariously, then something unusual is present…and he does indeed…and it is indeed. 'Member The Lollipop Guild from The Wizard of Oz? 'Member that they were kinda bad-asses with manners? Well, they've grown up and developed a taste for Poe, Dunsany, and Willie Wonka while forming a band called Rainbow Beast & The Rock Land Band Rockers. Tales from the Monstrosity Scrolls is the manifesto, and it's an exercise in prog-pop a la Flight Commander, Pictures, Klaus Nomi, Lene Lovich, Klaatu, Flaming Lips in their late period, a hyperthyroidal World of Oz (obscure 70s band), and maybe Todd Rundgren on nitrous oxide. How, then, can you even think about passing it by, pilgrim?
More, these melodious anarchists have recruited kids' choirs in every cut to abet their subversive but tuneful weirdness. The basic ensemble is a threesome—Marcus Stoesz on lead vocals, guitars, and keyboards, Brian Gorman on drums and backing vocals, and Jen Aldrich on bass…but, though the landscape grows amusingly and sometimes even forbiddingly dark all over the place, Hornfly a particularly ominous cut, there's nonetheless a pantload of redemption and hope. In this musical milieu, kids aren't forbidden to explore the other side of the saccharinity we adults tend to force on them, but they're also required to be creative, original, kind, and refrain from songs about, well, poop.
Whaaaaat?!?! Yep, even if you're a Ren & Stimpy addict, certain avenues are verboten, and why not? The intent is to achieve a balance, not dive into the muck and remain there. In a nod to the Kinks, the clatterous Lola Vs. the Giant Shrimp ("The giant shrimp, the giant shrimp, the giant shrimp is pretty pretty ugly!") even pits the reputed Lola aginst her favorite snack food. Ye gods!, horrors! what next? Petticoated slubgobs battling triffid Doritos? Maybe so! But it's all in good creepy fun, and the band invites listening youngsters to send in their own recordings, tell a joke, share a story, or whatever. This, though, is the best place to start: just over 71 minutes of musical mayhem and giddy goofiness that's very kid friendly without being insulting or condescending, letting their imaginations run rampant…even to the extent of Cheerios transmogrifying into Mosquit-Os!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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