The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Record Review

Reviewed by Ken Lieck, April 26, 2002, Music


Faster Than the Speed of Suck

(Spanks A Lot) There's this guy and this gal, see? And they've borrowed a friend's vehicle and are cruising across the U.S. in it, with their fragile sanity at the mercy of whatever tunes they can pick up on the car radio. No, that's not the beginning of an urban legend, it's the framework that holds together Wammo's ambitious spoken word/ comedy/rock/country/ rap/easy listening/disco album from hell. Largely because the local Asylum Street Spanker has done his homework in studying the comedy epics of the Firesign Theatre and other legends of audio humor, Speed of Suck is thoughtfully brilliant and laugh-out-loud funny, with rapid-fire blackouts hitting all the hot buttons: Austin's music scene, the Internet, crossover hits, Eighties retro culture, advertising, student radio stations, and even band-specific parodies that mercilessly skewer the likes of AC/DC and the Smiths. The disc comes off as somewhat dated at times, with bits like "Surf the Net" (a Beach Boys-style anthem to the World Wide Web) having been done to the point of cliché already. Considering that Wammo's been trying to get this baby released since around the time of the last Lollapalooza, it's not hard forgiving a few instances of topicality gone stale. For every bit that's past its prime or just misses its target, however, there are a dozen that strike true. Hell, the track titles alone are more entertaining than anything to come out of the "poetry slam" subculture -- check out "Duran Sirhan," "Happy Hardcore Mood," "Charles Whitman's Sampler," "Nero Fiddles While Tom Waits." If the Firesigns were the Beatles of comedy, then with Speed of Suck, Wammo has secured his position as its Nirvana.


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