The Audacity of Hype (Alternative Tentacles)
Revitalized by his collaborations with the Melvins, Jello Biafra, now in his 50s, has gone the next logical step and formed his own band. The Guantanamo School of Medicine sounds a bit like the Jelvins and a bit like Frankenchrist-era DKs, with nods to both the Stooges and grunge.
Assuming you don’t find Biafra a tedious demagogue, this is good news. The Audacity of Hype—the cover and title of which stab at uncritical Barack Obama–worship with a grinning-devil parody of the “Hope” poster—has Biafra’s trademark wit throughout. He warbles convincingly in the role of a scandal-mongering Republican hick in “Clean as a Thistle”. And “Pets Eat Their Master” is a post-Kennedys masterpiece (though I kinda wish it had really been about killer pets, in the manner of Patricia Highsmith’s The Animal Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder, rather than a parable of class war).
Only one track, “I Won’t Give Up”, borders on the embarrassing, as Biafra makes first-person declamations of his political steadfastness that may induce eye-rolling and nausea. Otherwise, bravo, Jello. And please schedule a Vancouver date.