Hippy Dippy Bullshit is on the rise, with No Monster Club at the ready with satire-heavy lyrics and Ariel Pink-esque forays into forgotten and neglected musical styles.
Instinct and idiosyncrasy are the main forces at play in Bobby Aherne’s band, with results veering between the fantastic and the fantastically crazy.
Insanity is a form of freedom, and No Monster Club are really good at communicating this point. The makeshift instrumentation and sonic devices that can be heard on ‘People are Weird’ put you in mind of Jeff Mangum’s Neutral Milk Hotel as Aherne seems to aim directly at self-expression, no matter what the final sound may be.
I Can’t Get Enough of That Hippy Dippy Bullshit, the first song on the album, sums up the ironic stance taken throughout the album. It takes on the tempo of a marching band, while voices are layered over each other to give a choral effect, despite the lyrics being, in effect, a reaction against a commonly held view.
There’s a discreet little would-be reference to Underworld’s Born Slippy on Arms Across America, as Aherne asks “Is That a Lava, Lava, Lava?” Again he plays with the tone of the music and lyrics, setting them up in opposition to one another, leaving you to wonder whether the point is upbeat or miserable.
That may be the idea at play, though. There’s no answer and, as is sung on Winning Streak, “You’ve got to treat this life as a laugh.” That explains the hint of The Beach Boys and Grease that you get in the next song, A Bad Example. Aherne combines these two with some 50’s pop to recreate something that would sound pretty great on The Animal House Soundtrack.
The final three songs, They’re Still Cooler than You, Late Bloomers and Harvard sound like a trilogy of social awkwardness. Aherne bemoans the state of affairs that lead a person to rely on what other people think, singing “Should you turn into another guy, you’re old enough to know better,” on the first, and meditating on his big break on Late Bloomers.
‘People Are Weird’ does exactly what it says it does. It points to a list of different oddities, while making them laughable and light. Apart from being socially conscious this album is cluttered, messy and basically all round brilliant.