Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flipper - Ha Ha Ha

(Alternative Tentacles, 1981)

Good ol’ Flipper. This first single gives Joe Listener a good idea of how the band was out to stick a finger up the rump of punk convention from the get-go: It’s slow (relative to their peers), bleak sludgepunk that could perhaps musically be considered an uglified descendent of the VU’s backing on “The Gift.” The horror and disgust of the lyrics, however, are cut with some degree of wiseacre humor, as on the jaded suburban observations and obnoxious laff-riot chorus of “Ha Ha Ha.” Adding a further level of weirdness, tape fuckery abounds on the vocals – speed-ups, extreme reverb, etc. The whole thing’s wasted, lumbering, and unpretty, but at the same time cutting, smart, and funny. Nice fold-out sleeve on this one, too!

The Flipper catalog was finally reissued a few weeks back – a happening that long ran neck and neck with the recent Loop reissues in the “believe it when I see it” sweeps – and this material is included, alongside the other ’80s singles, on the 100% awright Sex Bomb Baby comp.

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