Devendra Banhart's new hobby Megapuss is catching a lot of shit from critics because they feel it can't be taken seriously. I could be missing something but isn't that the point? Sure‚ one could try and pick apart songs like "Chicken Titz" searching for subtext‚ but it's more enjoyable to just listen and laugh. The relaxed vibe of opener "Crop Circle Jerk 94" feels warm and sunny‚ a welcome vibe when the mercury in my thermometer is dipping below zero every night. After a playful beginning‚ Surfing dives head first into its bizarre comedy‚ with a partially spoken word track about misunderstood duck people who have high regard for vitamin c.
What's most impressive about the album is that aside from being humorous‚ Banhart and Greg Rogove can actually play. Songs like "Theme From Hollywood" are driven by catchy melodies that are more than just a supplement to jokes. "Hollywood" could even pass as functional pop until the meowing breakdown at the end. Two thirds of the way through‚ Surfing hits its offensive pinnacle on "A Gun on His Hip and a Rose on His Chest‚" a tune that plays out like a high school kid listening to Bo Diddley while pondering the best noun for an X-rated mad lib ("Fuck ____ in the asshole"). Some notable choices include homophobes‚ Abraham Lincoln and taxes (in their I.R. asses).
After "Gun‚" Megapuss falter by immediately following with "Chicken Titz‚" the aforementioned sophomoric tune that feels like overkill. And the final three tracks on the album aren't bad‚ but they aren't funny‚ which makes them feel out of place. The uneven structure of the album feels haphazard at times and could have been improved if the group put in more studio time. But at the same time‚ spontaneity is a driving force behind Surfing‚ an album with its fair share of outrageously fun moments. So while the album may not be for everyone‚ those who do enjoy oldies rock songs about mass sodomy can rest easy knowing that an album has finally been made for them.