sexta-feira, 13 de julho de 2007

Gibby Haynes & His Problem

When Gibby Haynes, the lead singer and crazed focal point of legendary acid-damaged freak-punk renegades the Butthole Surfers, concludes this first solo album with the apparently sincere advice to "Stop actin' so crazy...y'all know what I'm talkin' about," you know we're a long way from Hairway to Steven or Rembrandt Pussyhorse. And that pretty much sums up what's wrong with Gibby Haynes & His Problem; more than two decades down the line from the Butthole Surfers' debut EP, Haynes doesn't seem quite ready to give up the ghost, but the wired mania of his salad days with the Buttholes appears to be a thing of the past. Instead of the perverse and uncomfortably unclean lyrical images of his best work, here Haynes offers random bits of defanged strangeness about smoking weed with Superman or making your lover wear diapers, and his possessed howl and creepy mutterings have given way to the sound of a talented but not especially challenging rock singer. And while the music from Haynes' backing band (for the most part uncredited here) is never less than skillful, it's not especially exciting, and lacks the banshee wail of Paul Leary's guitar work to make it move (though Leary plays keys on one song and mixed five others). Ultimately, Gibby Haynes & His Problem wades in the shallow end of the same musical pool as the Butthole Surfers; the style and reference points are similar, but without the messy, scary, and unpredictable elements that made his band so remarkable (as well as their psychic fire), this album sounds strangely neutered, as if Gibby still wants to give his fans the freak show they crave but he's lost the psychosis he needs to bring it to life. It may be significant that the most straight-ahead rocker on this set, "Nights," which owes the least to the Buttholes, is also the album's most compelling track, and one of the few that suggests a distinct musical personality of its own. Otherwise, Gibby Haynes & His Problem suggests that one of rock's most colorful iconoclasts has reached the end of his creative road.

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