It’s been a hell of a month, and sometimes it really does help to take things down a notch. We cover a lot of jangly, upbeat music, and occasionally, it just doesn’t fit the vibe. Like one time, I took some acid at the lake, and thought that my favorite music would be the key to a great come up. Turns out, math rock’s ultra-fast BPM’s and topsy-turvy guitar lines were not entirely suited for that context. The resulting anxiety had me projectile vomiting one of those violently pink Sobes, as well as the contents of an entire breakfast burrito in no time, and my friends thought I’d ejected a number of vital organs in the process.
Thankfully, someone had Dark Side of the Moon on their phone, and all was right in the world, and my stomach. It ended up being a pretty beautiful day. Now, we’re not saying Fat Randy‘s new album is quite on the same level as Pink Floyd‘s timeless epic, but if you are looking for something slightly subdued while keeping things tastefully odd, A Slow, Incremental Change will fit the bill just right.
In fact, the record opens up with what sounds like a skillfully orchestrated jazzy comedy sketch with “Walgreens.” The hazy flange in the background, warped speech, and stomping progressive jazz makes for a winning combination. Stephen Friedland’s detached punchlines and melodically despondent vocals are consistently entertaining as he somehow spins comic gold out of self-loathing, addiction, and disillusionment.
Check out “Walgreens” below. It’s got all the goodies. You know, assuming your scripts are in order.
Elsewhere, Stephen and co continue to build absurdist monuments on songs like “Steve Jobs Didn’t Believe in Charity and Used to Double-Park in Handicap Spaces” and “Soup for My Family.” Underneath the more obvious hilarity, there’s quite a bit of musicality to digest, and it’s a deliciously diverse course. Like a ballroom Melvins or enraged King Missle, Fat Randy throws their weight around with crushing riffs one moment, and croon a genuinely touching ballad the next.
The manic monster jams of closer “I’m Going to Do It” are as menacing as they are playful, and ends the album with a feverish descent. The back half of the album is filled with heavier moments, but “I’m Going to Do It” certainly takes the cake in that regard, uncovering yet another layer of mischief for the band to explore.
A Slow, Incremental Change fully commits to what makes it unique: throughout it’s runtime, one feels like they’re constantly being transported to different settings with a cast of changing characters, and there’s never a dull moment. Sure, there are traditional instruments employed, but ultimately, its an album full of cathartic, over-the-top fun that you’re going to want to keep in rotation for years to come.
I suppose there’s probably a case to be made for the album being a little heavy handed for an acid trip, but who are we to tell you what to do? Live your life, do the thing. You can check out the rest of the band’s discography here, which we highly recommend, and you can send us a digital cup of coffee if you’d like over here. Coming up we’ve got a special interview with legendary producer Martin Bisi, Bit Brigade, Gotho, and more. Thanks for reading!