The Dinner Is Ruined Band - "A Maggot In Their Heads" (Sonic Unyon 1999, CD)

From Aural Innovations #6 (April 1999)

The Dinner Is Ruined Band... quite a name huh? Kind of implies either something very demented or a good sense of humor. Well I'd say it's a bit of both. This Canadian trio isn't spacerock per se, but do read on because these guys play creatively quirky rock music that does contain some warped elements of space and psych. The band consists of Dale Morningstar on guitar and vocals, Dr. Johnny Pee Press on keyboards, and Dave Clarke on drums and percussion. A Maggot In Their Heads is the band's fifth release.

The opening track, "70's Slave", has a crushing Deep Purple sound, particularly due to the Jon Lord sounding keyboards, though the wild vocals and drugged choral harmonies take the song as a whole into an entirely different direction. The music goes into an extended rocking jam that really does have a 70's feel. No solos. Just good heavy rock that happens to be accompanied by delightfully freaky vocals. "Classic California Ass" is another heavy rocker though some of the guitar has a bit of that off-key blues sound that was a Captain Beefheart trademark.

Ok... now the fun begins. After rockin' along at a heavy but stoned pace, the band launches into space punk territory with "Bobby Orr". The guitar and drums rip, tear, and shred at breakneck speed as the voicings go on about hockey related issues. So that's got me fallen out of my chair. I've stood up, dusted myself off, now prepared for more harshness and the band completely eases the pace with the almost ballad-like "Bought Yourself A Bullet". But it does get intense and the keyboard and guitar briefly stray into acid territory. By this time I realize that Dinner Is Ruined Band is not going to let me determine a pattern, or even sit still for the remainder of the CD.

Other highlights include: "Mowdown Louisiana" (I think that's what it says) starts off as a Stooges style rocker and while the vocals retain an Iggy growl the guitar and piano jam along in a somewhat dissonant avant-rock jam. "Old Horse Whore" is a... I don't know what it is but imagine the Bonzo Dog Band singing their version of the Lumberjack Song in a Greek restaurant. Ya gotta hear it to understand. "The Hangman" is a thumping acid punker with the best freakout guitar on the disc. "Buffalo Jump" follows in this vein, but alternates so abruptly with quiet guitar portions that my head started to spin. But when it's rockin' the guitars crash insanely and the vocals do a kind of talk rant. The whole thing kind of reminds me of MX-80 Sound.

At 39 minutes the disc is relatively short. But this music makes it's point very quickly so there is no extraneous material here. Of the fifteen tracks only four are over three minutes and five are under two minutes. Very creative and a damn good time.

You can visit the Dinner Is Ruined Band at the Sonic Unyon web site.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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