Spazzed-Out Nuttiness Made (Briefly) Tolerable


Were it possible to condense the sleaziest fly-by-night roadside carnival into the size of a baseball, then have Roger Clemens whip it through the window of a political science class at a particularly run-down reform school, you might end up with an approximation of this Philly spazz-core crew’s “music.” An Albatross’s latest is a doozy: about 18 minutes total (epic for this band) of mostly raging runarounds with detours into careening boogie (“Lysergically Yours”) or dervish-jazz (“II. Profane Illumination”).

Perhaps the only band ever to make pencil-necked freakshow nuttiness (think Les Claypool or Frank Zappa) tolerable within a rock context, An Albatross scrunch all the potential corniness of wacky organs and polka beats into something so tight and manic that it becomes actually freaky. Ultimately, a few hints—the spiraling space disco of “Sacred Geometry” or sweeping synth spots of “Feastgiver”—imply that once the vocal chords are shredded and these guys begin to simmer down a bit (which seemingly will not happen anytime soon), they may be able to give their endless invention a little hyperventilating room.