Butthole Surfers
Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac


5.0
classic

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (97 Reviews)
December 2nd, 2018 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chapter 2: Scatological Prowess

Soon after the release of Butthole Surfers, the core lineup of the group was settled - original members Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary maintained their stake in the band and recent additions King Coffey and Teresa Nervosa both played drums, plus session bassist Bill Jolly was still on board. But now, coming off the heels of their self-titled work, the Surfers were ready to continue in Bob O’Neill’s BOSS Studios, where they would record enough material for two full length records. Nervosa stated that their sessions at BOSS involved them “taking tons of LSD and.. just melting into that studio” (Women of the Underground: Music: Cultural Innovators Speak for Themselves). Different reports from Leary said that Haynes and he were living in a tool shed and were using very poor equipement (Reissuing the Butthole Surfers: Tongue-in-Cheek Terror). Regardless of the reports, one thing was true - they were recording plenty of material and Alternative Tentacles wasn’t keeping their end of the deal. O’Neill, after becoming frustrated due to the financial holdouts at AT, held the master tapes hostage and planned to release Psychic… Powerless… Another Man’s Sac… on his own Ward 9 imprint, until the tapes were saved by the band and Touch and Go Records, letting this first record see the light of day the same year as Live PCPPEP.

The material that would go on to be featured in Psychic… Powerless… Another Man’s Sac… sees the Surfers elaborating on a lot of the more psychedelic ideas featured on Butthole Surfers. “Eye of the Chicken” and “Cowboy Bob” both illustrate this well - although both songs (and the whole album) are quite possibly even scuzzier than previous works, they also constantly build and swell in a medley of deranged perversions of rock and roll. Much of this record’s ambiance feels like hazy, green and pink clouds, hedonistic pleasure and toxic fumes. It’s an utterly repulsive album, reminding me quite a bit of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas’ fixation on drug-induced manipulations of reality. But underneath the layers of distortion, many of these songs resemble somewhat traditional rock compositions. Tone down Gibby’s screams of confusion and clean the production up, and tracks like “Woly Boly,” “Negro Observer,” and “Gary Floyd” would resemble some of the stranger songs from the garage rock era. Still, this hardly explains the various samples of toilets flushing or people vomiting. Or the creepy, almost antagonistic leads and saxophone performances on “Negro Observer” and “Dum Dum.” Or, you know, the intensity of the title track and the nightmarishly dazing “Cherub.”

I guess my point is that divorcing this album from its bizarrities shows elements of, dare I say, humanity and groundedness, but that also misses the point. While the band is able to exist as both an intimidating noise rock band and a unforgivingly comical art punk project with definite garage tendencies, it’s ultimately fruitless to discuss Psychic… Powerless… Another Man’s Sac… in a traditional sense. Despite it being one of my favorite albums of all time, I have no idea how I’d market it to someone. It’s somehow both a serious artistic creation that proves that Haynes and Leary are clever writers and a big fuckin’ joke that exposes just how immature and tasteless Haynes and Leary are. They’re just two Texan freaks writing the music they wanted to play with three other drugged out weirdos, with the charisma to turn a really, really stupid joke into something beautifully repulsive and tasteless.



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The Butthole Surfers spawn with a psychedelic-noise rock release...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2018


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks to granitenotebook for looking at this with new eyes and helping me out.

Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTW-OCFbPPk

Chapter 2...

Previous Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78486/Butthole-Surfers-Butthole-Surfers/

Next Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78553/Butthole-Surfers-Cream-Corn-From-the-Socket-of-Davis/#lastpost

Digging: Melvins - Stoner Witch

ArsMoriendi
December 1st 2018


25050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're doing a discog run? :o

Digging: White Noise - An Electric Storm

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2018


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah, easily one of my favorite bands, i wanna talk about all their albums

i hoping as i go on i wont need to give so much background on the records, its just that a lot of their early stuff is really interesting when you take into account the conditions imo

love your new ween avatar

ArsMoriendi
December 1st 2018


25050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks! Fun fact: all of my avatars and profile pics ever have contained Boognish somewhere.

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2018


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ive noticed haha

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2018


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

bump

ArsMoriendi
December 2nd 2018


25050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

People on this site just don't typically care about quirky noise rock stuffs enough sadly.



Which is sad because it's one of the best types of music

sonictheplumber
December 2nd 2018


10076 Comments


Sweet

BigLofty
December 2nd 2018


134 Comments


this is jam rock a la grateful dead
ain't no noise bout it
fuck outta here with your dilution factor
this be the tincture and concentrate gen

JokineAugustus
December 2nd 2018


8733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Noise rock rules

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2018


9441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes, it does..

Digging: A.R. and Machines - Die Grune Reise

SandwichBubble
December 3rd 2018


9255 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yay

Gotta rejam this

Digging: Little Claw - Moss Has Fangs

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2018


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This record needs more love tbh

Although I think it's bolded on rym

BigLofty
December 5th 2018


134 Comments


band fucking sucks lmao

Kompys2000
December 12th 2018


2172 Comments


Noise rock rules [2]

GhandhiLion
December 12th 2018


3475 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

band fucking sucks lmao [2]

Digging: Coin Locker Kid - Traumnovelle

SheriffOfHongKong
December 20th 2018


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one is an absolute classic. One of their strongest releases by far and their best album cover art. A must have for fans of weird rock.



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