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Wretched Power Pop
Wretched Radio (Better Days Records)
The Uncommon Houseflies
The back cover of the Uncommon Houseflies' latest disc offers this caution: "Listening to the Uncommon Houseflies has been shown to cause disorientation and incontinence in laboratory animals." Listener, consider yourself warned.
For their third disc, this Louisville band continues to show steady growth in both their songwriting and showmanship. On their first two discs, the Houseflies mixed their bizarre humor with more poignant songs about love, loss and dogs (yes, I said, "dogs," and I meant it). But Wretched Radio is straight-up satire and snark, with the band covering a lot of ground in six songs (book-ended by radio jingles).
The amp-up in humor can be attributed in part to the addition of Butch Bays, who wrote and sings on three of the songs. His conversational style of humor is a nice balance to bassist Kevin Gibson's darker, more irreverent tone ("Commando for Jesus" made me wince and laugh out loud at the same time). Bays' contributions include "Border Disorder (The Canada Song)," a true story about a failed attempt to enter "America's Hat," and the gay (both definitions intended) "Bowling Buddy," a homage to a bowling alley bromance that features a hilarious give-and-take between the two protagonists that plays like a Kenny Rogers-Dolly Parton duet: "I'll roll the ball." "I'll mark the score." "We're out of wings." "I'll order more." Insert smoky haze and clinking beer bottles here.
Lest you think the Houseflies can only do power pop and Yankovic, check out "Space Monkey," a trippy tale about a pioneering simian, complete with an actual recording from a NASA space launch (which may or may not be authentic). The song's sound goes where this band hasn't gone before, exploring strange new chords and seeking out new harmonizations.
For a band that almost shut things down after their last disc, the Houseflies sound rejuvenated and ready to create some serious buzz.
There's more waiting at uncommonhouseflies.com.