Friday, June 23, 2017 This Week's Paper

CD Review: The Fun Police - Clown Control

Tacoma band The Fun Police pack many humorous elements into their latest album.

Leadoff track "Pretty Good Friend" is propelled by Brigadier B-Ski's drumming. It has some lively fiddle playing by Major Monk. Ranger RuffHousen sings about a less than ideal friend, one who kicked his dog, parked on the grass and borrows tools he never returns. "You drank up all my beer and you never buy none/ you're worthless, just about as much as they come/ you're always busy when I need your help."

The first two minutes of "Unemployment" is driven along by a fast drumbeat. The lyrics describe the frustration of being out of work. "Well I don't want to stand in the unemployment line/ I don't want to hold no cardboard sign/ there are plenty of better ways to spend my time."

After two minutes, it shifts into a slow country song. RuffHousen ponders how Alexander the Great conquered much of Asia at 23 and Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in his 30s, while he is waiting for his unemployment check in the mail.

"Far Away" finds the band going in a reggae direction.

"Pho King" is about a local man known for his skill in preparing pho, a popular Vietnamese soup that is pronounced "fah." The title is a play on words, combining a Vietnamese word with an English one. "I got a friend named Bok Tan/ makes the best bowl of soup in the land/ don't you know he is the man/makes a tasty bowl of pho/ he come all the way from Vietnam/ all the way to T-town."

There is a Vietnamese restaurant, by the way, called Pho King along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. And yes, it sells shirts with its name on them.

"Trouble" begins with chords on electric guitar. The tune has a real garage rock sound. Veteran V. Dub, a woman, sings lead vocals at the same time as the male RuffHousen.

"The Covenant" is about a homeowner at odds with the homeowner's association and its enforcement of neighborhood rules. One woman takes it upon herself to measure the length of blades of grass in his lawn.

"Sometimes I try to make them angry/ I'm leaving my Christmas lights up until January/ I'm parking my truck with one wheel on the sidewalk/ just to hear them &@$#(!% talk."

"Chinese Surf" has a Chinese musical motif, a pleasing melody. The lyrics are either in Chinese, or the band may have made up some gibberish words.

"Dandelions and Gold" is a mid-tempo rock song. The lyrics offer a phrase that could describe this band's musical diversity. "The hardest thing in life is not getting what you want/ it's deciding what you want/ and we decided we don't really know/ in which direction we want to go so we just go everywhere."

"Little Maggie" is credited as a traditional song. The band's version mixes country with Celtic rock.

"Dumpster Diving" has a ska flavor. RuffHousen and Veteran V. Dub trade off on vocals. It is about a guy asking a girl if she wants to spend time in an alley on 6th Avenue. The tempo changes several times. About halfway through the music veers into blues/rock at a slow pace, recalling something from the late 1960s.

The Fun Police are known for the police uniforms they wear while performing and their cop stage names. They can generate laughs. But they are also good musicians and bring elements of many genres into their rock music.