Review Summary: A 10-year-old on guitar. An 8-year-old on drums. A 5-year-old on vocals. What more must I say?
I’m at a lost of words. How the hell do I review something like this?
I remember when I used to hang out with my cousins in the summer. We’d stay up till the dawn playing video games, we’d play football and ride our bikes into town to see movies at the theater and squeeze as much enjoyability out of it as possible, and that’s all we needed. However, Tyler, last name unknown but aged 10, lived in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and only got to see his Arkansas-native cousins Trey, aged 8, and Matthew, aged 5, once a year. Tyler came up with the extreme idea of recording music albums as time capsules of the fun they celebrated in the one only annual week they would meet. It’s a cute idea, but they weren’t kidding; this IS a full album - 13 total songs with a full runtime of 44 minutes.
Tyler on guitar: a Fender Statocaster with a nice Marshall amp – alright, sounds good. Trey on “drums”: a broken VCR as the snare, a CD container as the bass, an old lamp as the snare, and Lego-made drumsticks – questionable. Matthew on vocals: a screaming 5-year-old stabbing the microphone as hard as he can – oh, that’s nice. To top it off, every song was recorded with a cheap vocal microphone and were later mastered in Windows Movie Maker. How promising.
Knowing all this, shall we venture ahead? Will we return?
The opening track, “I Don’t Know”, is a trailer for the album that slumbers ahead with a sly grin. At only 1:16 long, its…its…well, what do you think? The song immediately begins with a soundbite made famous from YouTube Poop videos, an eloquent quote that perfectly summarizes the album as a whole: “DIE!” Following is a decent thrash/rock riff that is soon mixed into the pot of vocalist Matthew and his swooning lyrics: “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.” Even Varg Vikernes of Burzum fame would be shaking his head at the atrocious sound quality; many times whenever Matthew is singing, it is all you hear; the instruments become obsolete and all that remains are the wails of a 5-year-old on vocals.
Next lies an instrumental track, an actual decent one at that (gasp!) with the name “Black Fire” and, hell, I like it. It opens up with a nice orchestral choir recorded from another medium, but what follows after is a generic riff comprised of mainly strumming the low E-string with a simple “kick snare kick snare” drum beat, but hey, its alright. Taking into consideration that this made by kids under 4th grade, I highly admire this track. It even has a decent guitar solo…and a not-so-decent drum solo.
"Hannah’s A Bad Manager" made me laugh uncontrollably. The opening guitar solo is hilarious, and Matthew the five-year-old vocalist is just amazing to listen too. He is clearly having fun with the microphone and that’s all I have to say about this one. It’s fast and thrashy and only lasts about a minute, and the topic of singing about how awful your manager is is just amusing.
Many of the songs after that just become a piss break. Track four, “Sonoma”, isn’t that bad to be honest but it’s a duplicate clone of “Black Fire” with a different riff swapped out. The title track is quite possibly the worst track on the album, as it is just a poor cover of Tool’s “Ænema” that simply repeats the main riff and verse for six minutes, complete with no vocals and horrendous vocals. However, it appears the song is cut early when drummer Trey drops his lego-drumsticks, and its honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. “Wakita” is simply an outtake, nothing more. Tyler even pauses the song to command Trey to slow the drum beat down; it’s a nightmare. It’s just one minute and 14 seconds of the “Unnamed Feeling” main riff from St Anger and I think there are vocals but I can hardly make them out. “The American Dream” is a six minute epic of Tyler just strumming random riffs and soloes on his guitar and, while some moments are quite cool, it just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on. “Welcome Back” is a butchered version of another Tool song, this one being “Stinkfist” but we have a double whammy, as this song also includes “The Grudge,” another Tool song. Yay for unoriganilty, but hey, they are kids, at least they have excellent taste in music.
“Spider-Man’s Revenge” marks the return of Matthew on vocals, and to be completely honest, he is hilarious. Matthew the 5-year-old is a one my favorite vocalists; he displays so much energy and every song he touches becomes so much better. In this track, he yells about his favorite superhero, Spider-Man, who apparently loves Star Wars Episode 2 and kicks weenies at the bad guys. I love it. “Great Typests” is a similar track, and it is the shortest track on the album, clocking at just under a minute. Within those 60 seconds, Matthew goes on about…honestly, I have no clue. I cannot make a single word out of this song, but its still amazing. The awesomeness of Matthew actually blows out the microphone at the very end as he screams ‘EVIL, EVIL!’ at the top of his lungs. Seriously, it is a must-listen.
After a decent 5-minute instrumental cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through The Grapevine”, Matthew marks his last appearance in “Magnaguard”, which is a lovesong to the popular videogame Star Wars Battlefront 2. While Matthew isn’t as explosive on this song, he still comes off as a better vocalist than Chad Kroeger or Scott Stapp, which is considerably good since he is about thirty years younger than the both of them. The lyrics are quite humorous too: “they kill wookies! Wookies sound like my talking butt! Die wookies die!” Plus, he sings the Empire theme. Genius.
The final song is “Aloha, Amigos Of Pain” which I said before is an eight minute track of Tyler playing riffs and solos on his guitar. However, this is different than “The American Dream” as various YouTube Poops are mixed into the background. This truly is a bizzare song, one of the most bizzare I’ve ever heard, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Just hearing memes mixed in with guitar solos is just an odd thing. Also, there is a 30 second pause of complete silence when Microsoft Sam comes in to give his epic line of dialog:
“Aloha, my amigos of pain as we expand outwards. Why am I the enemy? Why is he dead? Why, why, why, you tell me why man!”
I think. I want to say its symbolic, but for what is beyond me.
There. I sat through a 44 minute album made by three kids with crude instruments with a small lack of talent and many improvised songs that I picked up at a garage sale; that’s a feat hardly anyone who every sit through. Is it good? No, not really, but it truly showcases the true fun children can have with a little imagination and a little freedom. Music is a door to enlightenment, a door to creativity, and its absolutely excellent to see kids trying to reach that inner door. While this album may be a 2/5 or a 2.5/5 in reality, it is a 5/5 in theory. I only wish I could’ve captured the fun and intellect that these kids held.
I also own The Panhandle, which is their second album recorded the following summer. I haven’t heard it, but I have read the inner cover flap and it appears that the same recording techniques were used to record that album too. I cant find “Texarkana” anywhere online, so I uploaded it to YouTube. Are you ready for it?
The full album. I've listened to the full thing, which means you can too.