A couple of years ago I got a copy of the last album from The Bob Lazar Story to review. It was called Space Roots and it was good. Unorthodox to say the least but a refreshing and entertaining listen that I thoroughly enjoyed.
When this one turned up the envelope came emblazoned with a sticker that proudly proclaimed for all the world to see:-
“THE BOB LAZAR STORY – Purveyor of Tritonal Wankery Since 2006”
You just cannot help but have admiration for an artist with so much belief in what he does.
And that artist is guitarist Matt Deacon. As a bit of background, here is what he has to say about himself on his website:-
“Matt was born and raised in Liverpool, UK. Matt happened across an acoustic guitar in 1982 and played the shit out of it until he became perfectly mediocre. A few years later he had to decide between two possible futures:
1. A life of potential musical obscurity.
2. Becoming a top, top football legend.
Luckily for you, he opted for number 1.
After playing lead guitar for seminal Liverpool band Cosmic Donut, Matt attended Community College from 1993-1996 where he studied Music Theory and Karate. In 1998, after growing disillusioned with the Karate scene in the UK, Matt travelled to New Zealand, where he now resides. Matt taught guitar for several years before giving it up to become, frankly, one of the best Posties in the southern hemisphere.
As Music Technology became more affordable, Matt started recording tunes, culminating in his first release in 2004. This eponymous debut was OK, but things improved greatly when he changed his musical name from Matt Deacon to THE BOB LAZAR STORY. 2006 brought the magical first proper album, titled (sic). This was critically acclaimed by at least three people. In 2007 The Silence of Perez de Cuellar EP was released to even more acclaim. Matt then embarked upon the crazy 4 year journey that included one year of taxi driving back in Liverpool but ended with the release of Space Roots in mid-2012.
Matt is currently working on a follow up which may or may not be a concept album based loosely on a Karate-obsessed taxi driver.”
This 7-track release is not the long-awaited concept album but does include what may be a brief fragment from it in The Sefton Knowledge, a must listen for any aspiring Liverpudlian minicabber.
Now I’ve been to Liverpool and that’s a wacky place to be sure, and I’ve seen The Lord of the Rings and if that is what New Zealand is all about then that has to be easily as barking so it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that The Bob Lazar Story has more than a grain of lunacy about it. But in a good and very positive way, not the standing outside Sainsbury’s with a dead seagull tied to your face shouting at passers by kind of thing.
Elements of Ghost Of Foodstool bring such off-the-wall luminaries as Frank Zappa and Mike Keneally to mind but Matt does his own thing very much in his own way.
It won’t take long so let’s have a look at each track in depth.
Westminster, named after the avenue of the same name in Christchurch, NZ (obviously), opens with a sense of urgency and gradually develops into a thing of wonder. Monumental and majestic with a Keneally-esque math rock sensibility and stately finish, it really is worth hearing on its own and leads into Suhmasshh which does pretty much what it says on the tin in that it is a (slightly) elongated finale without a precursory tune. Clearly you don’t always need such irrelevances as this is a very enjoyable 14 seconds!
Threadkiller is particularly satisfyingly, all tricksy stuff with jumpy rhythms and repeating guitar patterns. Parts of it could be the soundtrack to a surrealist cartoon and apparently before adding the guitar the demo “sounded like two computers fucking”. Nice!
Each Bob Lazar release to date has included a “Foodstool” track of some kind and this one gets the full-on title track accolade. Ghost Of Foodstool ft. The Sefton Knowledge is thumping one minute with a militaristic beat, smokey the next with a lovely bass solo from Mike Fudakowski. There is a majestic air as it skips through some sinister territory to the ‘Knowledge’ of the outro, a recital of the routes you have to learn to get a taxi licence in North Liverpool over Cardiacs influenced power chords. It’s just great and FUN, the ‘F’ word that is often lost in modern music making of a spiky or unusual bent.
J-Rod’s Pigeon Ladyshapes. I mean, Good Lord, what? As Matt says, “this is what happens when you ask FaceBook fans to name songs”. I don’t think it really captures the essence of a brief keyboard piece that is reminiscent of Gentle Giant and quite lovely.
Day Off More So begins in thumping rock mode for the first half with added acoustic guitar, slowing down into a funky electric piano led mid-section that gets nicely into the groove, the whole being very well executed.
And finally we have Funniest Cat Video Ever II which closes the disc out with quirky, picky guitars in a Zappa style, more Gentle Giant keys and a lot of Keneally about it. And the video is great:-
Predominantly a guitar/bass/drums trio with bits of keys thrown in, throughout this release the recording is excellent, Chris Jago’s drums being particularly noteworthy as the sound is beautifully delivered to give the tracks the required momentum and sparkle. There’s a cheeky grin and twinkle in the eye about everything in Matt’s catalogue and it makes me smile. You can’t say fairer than that.
There is only one thing wrong with Ghost Of Foodstool – it’s about half an hour too short. It’s a sort of EP but is gone before you know it which is a shame as this stuff warrants the longer format to really immerse yourself into. As a whole it is fragmented and scattershot but that is one of the strengths as it remains fresh as a listening experience, the quality of the work overcoming the miniscule running time. Full credit is due to Matt Deacon for the accomplishment on this one which is certainly a polishing and improvement from Space Roots. Here’s to the next full length release. Let’s try and get at least 40 minutes next time Matt, if it isn’t too much trouble of course!!
01. Westminster (3:06)
02. Suhmassshh (0:14)
03. Threadkiller (1:32)
04. Ghost of Foodstool ft. The Sefton Knowledge (3:57)
05. J-Rod’s Pigeon Ladyshapes (0:32)
06. Day Off More So (2:13)
07. Funniest Cat Video Ever II (2:26)
Total Time – 14:04
Matt Deacon – Guitars, keyboards
Chris Jago – Drums
Mike Fudakowski – Bass
Tanya Didham & David Biedny – Vocals on The Sefton Knowledge
Record Label: Lucid Bruce Music
Year Of Release: 2014