Butthole Surfers
Locust Abortion Technician


5.0
classic

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (125 Reviews)
January 12th, 2019 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chapter 4: What does regret mean?

The airy synths that start “Sweat Loaf” are reminiscent of a Spielberg soundtrack, setting the backdrop for a discussion between father and son. The son asks about regret and the father gives him advice before proclaiming the name of the devil. This scene is quickly squashed as a bastardized take on the Black Sabbath classic “Sweet Leaf” grossly stumbles in. It's abrupt, sloppy, malformed, and downright disrespectful to the source material, but there's an undeniable energy and humor to this take that really makes it shine. it's a perfect set-up for the equally distasteful and incoherent Locust Abortion Technician.

In all honesty, it's a really difficult record to approach critically (at least, for me). This isn't just a congealed mass of psychedelic buffoonery, it's the Surfers most discussed and celebrated release. The furthest from traditional the group dared to go, this is the record their entire career was leading to. As a band of degenerate freaks, this is their most freakish and degenerative. From the Gibbytronix-fueled (Gibbytronix refers to the purposely convoluted distortion technique used by Gibby Haynes, which is a play on the Frippertronics system of one Robert Fripp) sound collages of “Hay” and “Kunts” to the rotten perversions of rock featured on “U.S.S.A.,” “Pittsburgh to Lebanon,” and “The O-Men,” this LP is one that bleeds ludicrously idiosyncratic absurdism, borrowing from surrealist/strange pieces like Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica (especially in the composition and structure departments), The Cramp’s ...Off The Bone, The Residents’ Meet the Residents, and John Cage’s “William’s Mix,” as well as the still tumultuous noise rock scene.

At this point in their career, the Surfers have far surpassed the point of drug addled psychedelia crazies and more so resemble full-blown Looney Tunes characters, exhibiting a brand of nonsense that’s more akin to a Bugs Bunny scheme than an experimental rock album. In a similar manner, only a few tracks (namely “Human Cannonball”, the two “Graveyard” tracks, and maybe “22 Going On 23”) feel very much like legitimately structured songs, all of which lean heavily on the sludgier side of the noise rock spectrum. The rest of Locust Abortion Technician is layers of mockingly filthy fuzz, shaking itself from one vividly cartoonish nightmare.

In fact, viewing each one of these tracks as its own separate disjointed scene in an incoherent nightmare is a pretty apt way of framing it. Each track seems like a strange distortion of a suppressed thought only to come out in REM sleep, until you jolt from your rest in a mild form of terror. Covered in sweat, you wonder how your mind could think of such bizarre, offensive, and/or ugly landscapes, all the while the strange images fall like sand in an hourglass, straight into your subconscious or id.

I guess my point is that none of Locust Abortion Technician is clear or particularly meaningful, even if you were to attempt to put meanings onto the songs. It’s just sort of an anomalous 32 minutes of methodically planned stupidity, the kind of which that would go on to serve as a muse to a whole new generation of pricks, assholes, and dickheads. A record that’s hard to describe, other than as a joke where the listener is the punchline. Or, in other words, the Butthole Surfers, fully realized.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2019


2968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks to granitenotebook for looking over this and being a great help as always.

Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOaJcoICBKk

Chapter 4...

Previous Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78591/Butthole-Surfers-Rembrandt-Pussyhorse/#comments

Next Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78897/Butthole-Surfers-Hairway-to-Steven/#comments

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2019


2968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Reviewer’s Note: So, a little background on this one. For a very long time this album has frustrated me due to a much earlier draft of a review only ever seen by like one other person. In retrospect, it completely missed the point of this album and, ever since, I’ve wanted to try writing about it again. This record was one of the main driving forces for my want for this review series to happen and I’m very happy with the result you see before you. Sorry about this one taking so long.

Happy New Year or whatever, Bloon. :]



ArsMoriendi
January 12th 2019


27291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Disagree with the review, but I still like this album

Digging: J Dilla - Donuts

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2019


2968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i would have figured youd like this more

ArsMoriendi
January 12th 2019


27291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Side 1 for me is kinda weak



I like (but don't love) Graveyard 1 and Human Cannonball, but the rest of side 1 honestly really boring



Sweat Loaf has a brilliant opening only to descent into a boring jam for like 5 mins straight



Side 2 rules though. U.S.S.A, Kuntz, and Especially The O-Men are some of my fave Butthole Surfer songs



Side 1: 2.5/5

Side 2: 4.5/5

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2019


2968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

kuntzkuntzkuntzkuntz

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2019


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hay is so good

Digging: Mark Kozelek and Petra Haden - Joey Always Smiled

ArsMoriendi
January 13th 2019


27291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I prefer Hey from their EP

GhandhiLion
January 13th 2019


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5



^^

Digging: mewithoutYou - Catch For Us the Foxes

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2019


2968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

id agree that, as an isolated song, hey is better but every piece here works together in the records structure

its like a house of cards or whatever

ArsMoriendi
January 13th 2019


27291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

idk first half of this record is underwhelming imo



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