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Unknown Instructors: Funland

The name Mike Watt will be immediately familiar to those who remember the Minutemen and fIREHOSE and since the demise of the latter Watt has been involved in a multitude of musical projects of which the most high profile has been the Stooges. His various side projects include the Unknown Instructors for whom Funland is now album number three. The rest of the band are rounded out by drummer George Hurley (also once of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE) in addition to guitarist Joe Baiza and vocalists Dan McGuire, Raymond Pettibon and Pere Ubu's David Thomas. For the most part the vocals consist of spoken word pieces which evokes memories of the period of the Beatnik poets of the 60's whereas musically the band range from garage rock psych to Captain Beefheart-inspired free form jazz punk infusion. And whilst all of this might sound like something of an unusual hybrid, for the most part the end result is both intriguing and thought provoking.

As you would expect there is much diversity in evidence here, from the stark and haunting "Afternoon Spent at the Bar, Sunny" to the shuffling blues angst of "Lead!", the funked up freak-out of "Frownland" and the bleak feeling of isolation that seepe throughout the monotone "Last Waltz". Throughout, Hurley provides a dry backbone and Watt's bass rumbles ominously whilst one of the three vocalists unleashes something that comes close to resembling stream of consciousness that takes in all manner of subjects. Not for everyone but if adventurous, bizarre, challenging and non-conformist turn you on then Funland will have plenty of appeal.

Track Listing
Maji Yabai
Those Were The Days
Later That Night
Door of No Return
Afternoon Spent At The Bar, Sunny
Chicago, Illinois
No Words
No Chirping
Last Waltz

Added: April 18th 2009
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Band MySpace
Hits: 2146
Language: english

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