Couch Flambeau’s songs describe a scary world with psychos on the loose, mangled bodies on the ground, bugs in the crawl space, and scenesters on the guest list. The band take a childlike delight in horror stories, whether car accidents or beasts tearing off people’s heads, but they also show an appreciation for the finer things in life, such as a trip to the zoo and a “hot dog–popcorn–Fudgsicle overdose.” Unlike Half Japanese, for example, they don’t balance their tales from the crypt with wistful songs about girls (although they perform a romantic ode to the Helvetica font), and they seem more smart-alecky than willfully naive. But they prove their indie-rock cred by kvetching about the music scene, their rock ‘n’ roll cred by repeatedly mentioning motor vehicles, and their Wisconsin cred by taking potshots at Cudahy. Their 37-track anthology I Did a Power Slide in the Taco Stand, which starts with their 1982 cassette-only debut and ends with live 2001 performances from WMSE, balances spaz-punk with hard-rock guitar showcases and even some free jazz. With stick-figure cover art and vocals that careen from singsong to wildly exaggerated inflections, it’s a post-punk chronicle in the spirit of kiddie novelty music.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 1, 2004