(As published in Brian Q. Newcomb's Harvest Rock Syndicate ... )
Soul Rotation (Hollywood)
Feel free to dismiss my enthusiasm for this snotty and hilarious concept album as the backlash of my senses against too much Billy Ray Cyrus and Sir Mix-a-Lot, but don't dismiss the snotty and hilarious concept album itself: It's probably the most dynamic, provocative, and relevant "spiritual" album of the year.
Amid songs documenting the quartet's usual obsessions with UFOs and paranoia are two that up the ante considerably: "God's Kid Brother" (a deeper, funnier, and more rocking expression of troubled agnosticism than XTC's "Dear God" or Springsteen's "Reason to Believe" that explains life's absurdity by positing the existence of a mischievous junior god) and "Belafonte's Inferno" (the story of an adolescent daydreamer who, like our Lord, creates a world and populates it with creatures who welcome him with crucifixion).
Musically, everything from paisely jangle to horn-spiced funk gets called upon to serve the oddball vision. And although their dizzying stylistic shifts may be a bit much for some people, it should be clear by now that, six albums into their career, the Milkmen take their schtick very seriously. And to meet them halfway is to go whole hog.