FAME Review: Screaming Headless Torsos - Code Red
Screaming Headless Torsos - Code Red

Code Red

Screaming Headless Torsos

Available from Screaming Headless Torsos' online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Screaming Headless Torsos is a band that's been around since 1995, at the time releasing an LP of that name (1995), then waiting six years before issuing the Live!! slab. 2005 and 2006 saw three issuances, but it would be another six before Code Red, this bad-ass disc, saw the light of day, the 2011 Dead Christmas Trees single being the only interim gig. Part of the reason for the sparsity of releasing may be because these berserk musical entrepreneurs play a very progressive blend of funk, alt, new wave, metal, art punk, soul, and cinematic/modern-cabaret. On Brooce Swayne sounds like Curtis Mayfield on uppers after listening to Talking Heads…in other words: way cool but not what the music consuming public is quite expecting.

Too bad 'bout that 'cause the gents (basic group this time out: David Fiuszynski on guitar, Dan Sadownick on percussion, David Ginyard on bass, and Freedom Bremner on vox plus three others with cats like Bernie Worrell and James Valentine sitting in) are highly adept in fusioneering. Their work is not only inventive but extremely in-the-cans ready for movies, especially of the art-house variety, occupying many levels, ceaselessly shifting within a jazz-jittery baseline. Field of Light gets down to meeting Marvin Gaye up with Living Color and Corey Glover. Fried Tongue has more than a little Mike Keneally to it as well as a compositional technique that'd make Red Crayola jealous.

The level of thought and pure art going into this CD are of a very high level, to my ears way way WAY beyond Bill Laswell and his efforts or Goldy or any of a cadre of others, and Fiuczynski is even a Guggenheim Fellow, an honor not easily had. The band has played large jazz and rock fests, and one could easily see them asked to Montreux, perhaps even accompanying Mike Patton and Fantomas as a saner index of inter-galactic art aesthetics (Fantomas is, after all, almost the last word in nutso brilliant experimentation). The production and engineering values of Code Red are pristine, art in and of themselves, making the release flawless in every respect, but, yeah, I can see why the group's name mightn't be on lips of the mainstay of the U.S.'s consuming public: a large degree of intelligence is needed to really understand everything going on here, and, dear reader, our fellow Americans are not, shall we say?, always of the top configuration when it comes to brains. Alas!

Track List:

  • Code Red (Sadownick / Fiuczynski / Raine)
  • Brooce Swayne (Freedom Bremner)
  • Wizard of Woo (David Fiuczynski)
  • With You (Fiuczynski / Raine / Bremner)
  • Fried Tongue (Fiuczynski / Villon / Raine)
  • Sideways (Interlude) (Beasley / Bremner)
  • Running Black Water Daniel Sadownick)
  • Almond Pear in Love (David Fiuczynski)
  • Dead Christmas Trees (David Fiuczynski)
  • My Reasons for Silence (Fiuczynski / Gilmore / Turk)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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