Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground
It’s A Matter Of Time
(Voodoo Rhythm Records)
It doesn’t happen every day but, every now and again, an album sometimes comes along which is just so fucking weird and good that it totally short circuits listeners’ synapses and leaves them wide open to the possibility of being both won over and perverted all at the same time. Such an idea may leave those unfamiliar with the potential value of such albums with the impression that the prospect of a record twisting listeners in such a way would be a BAD thing, but this critic wants to reassure them that such an event is not a bad one. The list of such records includes Frank Zappa’s We’re Only In It For The Money, Ween’s Chocolate and Cheese, Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin and, now, It’s A Matter Of Time by Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground. From note one of the off-puttingly entitled “I want to fuck you baby,” Beat-Man and his merry band of miscreants go out of their way to hook listeners with licks cribbed right out of the “Great Big Book of Classic Rock Cliches,” which have been twisted with the kind of weirdness which only appeals to those afflicted with true genius, and simply never lets up; every twist will initially leave listeners scratching their heads at the beginning of each song in this running, but hopelessly in love with each one before they end. Simply said, this ain’t the kind of record you find every day but, after you do find it, it’ll mess you up in the best, most startling and affirming ways, and all you’ll want to say is, “Thank you” and ask politely for another, when it’s done.
As stated, “I Want To Fuck You Baby” opens It’s A Matter Of Time and leaves an indelible impression upon those who hear it as, with campfire-warmed acoustic guitars strumming, the Underground gently pedals out a country flavor like the one which powered Ween’s examination of 12 Golden Country Greats, and that taste somehow gets even stronger when Beat-Man himself coasts in with the title lyric – sounding like a Quebecois punk rocker who just finished a week-long residency at his favorite strip club where he was obviously paid in beer. Needless to say, the sound is incredibly jarring, at first, but it smooths out before long with the help of Milan Slick’s keyboards – which sound like they may have been five-fingered out of The B-52s’ storage unit. It may sound unlikely, in print, but the sound is surprisingly infectious in practice and, when the song finishes after a hair less than two minutes, listeners will find that they;re ready to follow along on the power of perverse curiosity.
After “I want to fuck you baby” sets its precedent, Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground find that the appeal of that original spell actually gets deeper. “Slave to the phone” bemoans the world’s dedication to technology while backed with an angular rhythm which sounds like the 21st century’s answer to New Wave, while “Jesus Christ twist” sounds like the unholy result of Tom Waits trying to move along to an old Sweatin’ To The Oldies video cassette, “Shut Up!” presents and acid-touched Sixties garage rock rave-up (which might just be the solution to many of the current problems in mainstream music), Get down on me” sprinkles some tone deaf pop into the album’s established stew and “Banned from the internet” exposes the twenty-first century’s most appalling social criticism. It’s all great fun in a “pop cocktail with a PCP back” kind of way and, while the album is far from perfect, (every time Beat-Man slows any song’s tempo down – as he does with the title track, “Back to hell” and “Mongolian talks to Alien” – listeners won’t be able to stop themselves from skipping along to the next hot fever dream), it features far more strong songs than insufferable ones and will leave those who hear it interested to see what the band can do with feature releases. Simply said, there are a lot of possibilities sewn into It’s A Matter Of Time – here’s hoping that Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground return refocused and realize them. [Bill Adams]
It’s A Matter Of Time is out now. Buy it here, direct from Voodoo Rhythm Records. https://voodoorhythm.myshopify.com/collections/news/products/news-reverend-beat-man-and-the-underground-its-a-matter-of-time-the-complete-palp-session-vrcd130-vr12130