The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets: Spaceship Zero
By Limeygit (Indie Monkey) firstname.lastname@example.org
Where do I start? An album that is essentially the soundtrack to an indie movie that may or may not ever be released. A movie that is based on an obscure and surreal German TV show of the late 70s and early 80s. A TV show, which was based upon a 50s US show called Spaceship to the Stars, which itself was based on a 20s radio broadcast of the same name. My head hurts.
All I know for sure is that after a bad few weeks in terms of the quality of CDs I have received, I have finally got something interesting to sink my teeth into. Because believe me this CD may not be the greatest thing ever released, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it is definitely very, very interesting.
Back when I was a whippersnapper there came a time when I needed some new wallpaper. Accompanied to the local large wallpaper-selling-type-store I decided I wanted the Flash Gordon wallpaper that had been released to coincide with the recent movie. As part of the special promotion if you were to purchase 5 rolls you would receive a free copy of the films soundtrack. Now my room only needed 4 rolls, but there was no way I was passing such an option up.
What does this have to do with anything? Well quite simply if you have ever heard the Flash Gordon soundtrack courtesy of Queen, you know what a masterpiece of camp it is. Seriously it should be an album you would be embarrassed to even share a city with, but it is so over the top in its intent and songs, you have to give it at least grudging admiration. Spaceship Zero is quite simply an album in that tradition, very different musically, and not quite so camp, but definitely at least a distant relative.
The music is interesting alternative rock, with occasional straying into either pop or metal as the need arises. The lyrics are bizarre sci-fi stories, based upon episodes of the cult TV show. The singer, Toren McBoren MacBin, is exceptional, running through a whole range of vocal trickery. Even when he is delivering lyrics such as “Obed was a sailor, he sailed the seven seas. He made love to the fish, he made love to the fishies” or “Did you kill all the dinosaurs? Man, it wasnt no meteors. Well Im sick of your Uberworld. And you scream like a little girl” he does so as if it were the most serious of songs.
They even manage to craft a very fine little song out of a mathematical equation in The Math Song. Yes, the lyrics are along the lines of ‘Y=(X/5)…’, although they introduce a rhyme by deciding that negative nine is so fine. Sci-Fi and Math, we could very well be seeing the resurgence of Geek Rock from the dark wastes of Canada.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Spaceship Zero is the quality of the production, really topnotch. Clean, pure and expansive. It helped a band with a big idea for an album to actually produce such a beast. After all this should have been a ridiculous laughable product, rather than an album I find myself drawn to with scary regularity.
If you are a fan of interesting, quirky music, then check this out. If you are a fan of Dungeon & Dragons, comics, sci-fi, cult movies and Lovecraft, then check this out. If you want an album to amuse you with its cleverness, whilst still essentially being a ridiculous product, then check this out. If you really think from this description that you would hate this album (I know I would), then still check it out. As I said a very, very interesting product.