"Beer makes you smart, drinking is art," chant Mark Freeland and Electroman in their funny,
eclectic twist on the sex-drugs-rock theme, American Googaloo. Freeland sounds like a dead panning David Bowie (or a shrill munchkin) backed by a Hendrix-ish guitar and a George Clinton-ish rhythm
section. American Googaloo is a throbbing, semiserious pop-culture commentary with enough charisma and frenzy to blast you onto the dance floor.
No Need to devote all of your holiday gift-giving largess to records by far-away artists with
strange-sounding names. We have a plentiful supply of homegrown vinyl right here in metropolitan Buffalo, enough new items this season to fill a queen-sized stocking.
Particularly active are the
city's young and restless spirits. Chief among them is Mark Freeland, who's made a career out of outrageousness and spontaneity in an ever-shifting ensemble he calls Electroman.
of rhythm, electronics, sex and low-rent delights has served him well for most of the 80's, but he's never put it across with quite as much sophistication as he does on the new Electroman LP, Come
(Beauty of Vinyl Records BOV-01).
What helps, undoubtedly, are the production talents of Godfrey Diamond in New York City, a factor that begins shaping this album from the minute the introductory
wake-up phone call silliness subsides.
Synthesizers and guitars mass together in power chords. Freeland's voice constricts into something akin to Steve Tyler's screech for the anthem, "Girl
Power." Shouldn't this song be pounding from teen radio all across the nation? And yes, Diamond once produced Aerosmith.
Freeland follows that up with the romantic saxophones and the
catch-in-the-throat explication of a rueful ballad called "The Cathy Song," which contains what maybe his most sensitive ruminations on, of all things, his impending middle age. Where this
seems like a Dylan-style confessional, he slips into something of a Mick Jagger kind of tenderness for a straightforward testimony of love later on in "The day You Came Into My Life."
Those who prefer Freeland looney rather than lovelorn should find a fair amount of satisfaction with "Family Feud," the first of three rap tunes on the seven song record and easily the most
outrageous. Not merely a rowdy spoof of the TV game show, it veers off into R-rated monologue on the failure of family relations and family planning. It's a long way from "Papa Don't Preach."
Equally witty, in a gruesome gastronomic vein, is Freeland's rapping "Macaroni & Cheese" on side two, a romp through cut-rate cuisine. And bizarre in the same fashion is his rap
takeoff on New York's tourist theme for a tour of Manhattan's New Wave scene in "I Dig New York."