Some artists completely defy categorization by genre. For a long time it seemed as if Mischievous Badger was one of those bands. It’s not easy to label a band that combines falsetto croons, ripping Hammond organ, and sequin studded costumes on one album, which is exactly what the band did on their last LP, the sensational Kids These Days. But on their outstanding new release We Take Ourselves Very Seriously, the duo of Carson “Brutha Man” Witte and Chris “Luva Man” McCarthy show that they occupy a genre all of their own, and the only word to describe that genre is FUN! The new album is eclectic, hilarious and a large step up from their last release, but above all, it is just plain good old-fashioned fun for you to enjoy with your whole family.
The band kicks things off with a serious slab of white boy funk, the raging jam “You Set Yourself on Fire.” Featuring lyrics that rhyme “lust for her ass” with “combustible gas” and a funktastic Hammond organ solo from Chris, the track is sure to be a hit with fans of their smash single “Like a Teddy Bear.” Immediately following is the head banging absurdity “Confucian Girls Take Your Money.” Carson mourns the loss of his cash to a girl from a Chinese religion, but gets the last laugh when he takes her out to a nice seafood dinner, and never calls her again! He also takes a glorious guitar solo straight out of the AC/DC songbook of 4-note musicianship. Chris meanwhile supplies listeners with a healthy dose of killing Hammond organ and heavily distorted harpsichord. Yes that’s correct, these boys put a harpsichord through a guitar amp, showing that they can still go “bach” to their European classical roots. “Wish I Was a Drummer,” an instant classic, is the next track on the album. Carson sings about an attempted love affair with a drum set over a New Orleans street beat feel, while Chris takes a phenomenal piano solo that sounds like Oscar Peterson jamming with Bachman-Turner Overdrive. And as if that wasn’t enough, the song closes out with a beautiful conch shell solo courtesy of Carson. Yes that’s right, these two prodigies can make a conch shell work over a New Orleans rock song!
Starting off the second half of the album is “Food,” a favorite from the band’s live show. You can hear the pain in Carson’s voice as he struggles to choose between the one he loves and the food he loves so dearly. To emphasize his pain, he swoops up into a breathtaking falsetto that sounds like a beautiful, sparkling, castrated angel. Chris layers on the beauty with Casio synths, melancholy piano, and even more Hammond organ! But wait until the end, when an entire orchestra comes into provide an incredibly climactic finish to the track. The band keeps things relatively mellow for the majority of the next song, “Frog and Toad.” Featuring perhaps the most romantic lyrics the band has ever written, Carson and Chris interact beautifully in this piano ballad that compares their lovers to pie a la mode and the beloved children’s book series Frog and Toad. If that felt a little too serious, fans will be delighted by the hilarious unbridled ridiculousness that is the final track on the album, “Meatloaf.” The song tells the story of a young man named Maurice who wishes to woo a girl with his cooking abilities. However, his culinary skills do not meet her expectations, and so in a stunning act of defiance, he steals some meatloaf from his mother’s fridge for his love interest. But then he is caught in the act when his mom walks in the kitchen, looking for the stolen meatloaf! She recognizes that he has a passion for cooking, but scolds him for not realizing that true happiness will not come from stealing her meatloaf! Who wouldn’t buy a song with such a deep and meaningful plot like this one? And in case fans aren’t convinced, they’ll be delighted to hear that the album closes out in a very similar fashion to Kids These Days, with a bunch of nonsense being shouted over a ripping organ solo.
When you have a band that can combine white boy funk, punk rock swagger, New Orleans rock, a beautiful Pink Floyd-esque epic, touching romantic lyrics and crazy organ solos onto one album, you know you have something special. And Carson Witte and Chris McCarthy are definitely two very special songwriters with high artistic ambitions, a superb lack of maturity, and a great sense of how to have a good time. Download We Take Ourselves Very Seriously, and you will have boatloads of fun listening, guaranteed. It is the sound of two cousins making joyous music that will inspire you to live in the moment and laugh. After all, who wouldn’t laugh at that album cover?
released August 22, 2010
Carson Witte - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion, Conch Shell, Programming
Chris McCarthy - Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Backup Vocals, Bongos
Recorded at Get Reel Productions and Got Yo Hat studios. Mixed and Mastered at Got Yo Hat studios. All music by Mischievous Badger. Copyright August 2010
Special thanks Robert Preston for giving us his time and wisdom.
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