Review Summary: Only 17 people on the planet know what a phepner is, and 19 of them are locked up.
One glance at this album’s cover is enough to turn some people off from listening to it, and I don’t blame them. An unconventional listen, to say the least, Sun City Girls’ Horse Cock Phepner is just not one many have the patience to listen through. But underneath it’s loud, juvenile exterior is an album worth its salt. Permeated with politically and socially charged lyrics, Horse Cock Phepner filters the world of the late-80s through the eyes of the disfranchised youth of that era, with an eclectic mix of blues (Eyeball in a Quart Jar of Snot
), punk (Passenger Seat People
), spoken word (Voice of America #1
), and much more.
One thing I immediately took a liking to with this album is the very unorganized and sloppy arrangements, which I am a big fan of. There’s a very fine line between improvisation in music and just wankery, and I think this album does the former, and does it well. The loud, fuzzy guitars and spoken word on some tracks perfectly complement the blend of Asian and African tribal sounds and yelping on others. With so much going on, the album could become very tiring; yet, somehow, it stays afloat.
The lyrics are an entirely different beast.
We music fans are an varied sort, aren’t we? Some say lyrics are the most important aspect of an album, while others disregard them entirely when listening. I myself tend to fall in the middle, and nowhere is that more present than this album. Some tracks like CIA Man
and Horse Cock Phepner
I sing along to with no trouble at all, while others either go way too fast for me to even attempt to sing along or just can’t be sung out loud at all (that is, without the threat of jail time). One of the highlights of the album for me is Nancy
, an absurdist poem of sorts that chronicles the titular Nancy Reagan exhibiting disgusting, hypersexual tendencies which include (but aren’t limited to):
- Sucking off Mr. T
- Urinating at a Press Conference
- Swallowing a Log
- Eloping with Jesus to Mt. Sinai
- Sticking Opium Pipes in her Ass
- Peeling Scabs Off with her Tongue
As the list above may make very clear, this album is really raunchy in some places, and can get downright gross. In fact, the major complaint I tend to hear is that this album is “childish.” And to that I say, “You’re absolutely right.” While it does pain me to say it, this album just isn’t for everyone. And even though I’ve done nothing but praise this album so far, in an attempt to be as inclusive as possible, I will agree that this album is a bit inane. With titles like Pornoshop
and Eyeball in a Quart Jar of Snot
, Horse Cock Phepner really is an acquired taste, and it may take multiple listens before you even decide whether you love it or hate it. And if we’re giving criticisms here, there is a tad bit of filler here. Now, filler in an album that’s only 44 minutes long is not too bad, but the two interludes and Saint Bernard's Observation Booth
aren’t exactly songs I’d clamor over. They definitely could’ve been cut, saving about… 2 minutes.
Despite these problems, Sun City Girls’ Horse Cock Phepner is definitely worth a listen, if only just to see what I’m prattling on about. Just make sure you’re up to it beforehand.