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Oho

Okinawa

Review by Gary Hill

This is definitely one of the weirdest albums I’ve ever heard. At least in terms of something I could actually get through. It’s also oddly compelling. The musical changes are at weird angles and a lot of this is seemingly unconnected. There are sounds of Frank Zappa, Pentwater and King Crimson at times. Yet, there are also things here that make me think of The Dead Kennedys. Still, we get psychedelia and space rock on display. The lyrics are often vulgar (there should be a parental warning) and seem to be mostly tongue in cheek. This album is not something that’s simple to get through. At times the weirdness becomes mind-numbing. It’s interesting, though.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Laughing

This short track is just what it says it is – a bunch of people laughing.

Opposites
Here we have a bunch of people naming off opposites in another short oddity.
Duva
Imagine Hawkwind jamming with Red era King Crimson. You now have a good idea of what this song is like. There’s a punky, Robert Calvert sort of feeling to the vocals. There’s a section later in the piece that I’d say would be what the Dead Kennedy’s would have sounded like if they’d been a progressive rock band.
Hyphenate Ice-less
This cut is more like traditional progressive rock, but there’s still a weirdness to it, rather like some of the odder Pentwater material.
Horse Remorse
This one’s like a psychedelic folk rock goes progressive rock kind of jam. There’s a King Crimson-like section later. Then we get something that resembles Frank Zappa meets Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s pretty weird. Some Hawkwind creeps in later, but then they shift out to some real jazz.
Parts & Ponds
I hear Pentwater on this, but also Gentle Giant, but this is far stranger than either of those bands ever got. It works through some different movements and there are more parts that make me think of the kind of progressive rock The Dead Kennedys would have done had they been prog rock.
Ain't Life Dumb
A playful cut, this combines folk rock with prog rock and a real sense of weirdness.
A Frog for You
Another exploration in odd progressive rock, this seems to combine Pentwater with Frank Zappa, blues rock and White Witch. It’s one of the cooler cuts on show and works through strange change after strange change. There’s some killer saxophone soloing on show, too.
Hogshead
Combine King Crimson with Pentwater and Zappa on this track and you’ve got a pretty good idea. Of course, it does shift out into weirder territory later. The vocals join and the track moves into a RIO meets blues rock band approach.
Manic Detective
This one’s more cohesive than some of the others and perhaps closer to pure psychedelia.
Brown Algae Is Attractive
Either the chaos is starting to seem normal by now, or this psychedelia meets prog weirdness is more accessible. This is my favorite cut to this point.
Plymouth Ascendants
This has a lot more classic rock texture to it. It’s not nearly as weird as some of the other stuff here. It’s a good tune. In fact, the extended closing jam here is my favorite part of the album to this point.
The Salient Sickle Sucker
An easier to take number, this reminds me a lot of King Crimson. There is some RIO-like music here at times and I can make out some Pentwater along with some psychedelic rock, too – but overall this is my favorite track to this point.
Hairy Bag
This short bit of weirdness feels like a continuation of the previous number in some ways.
Fast Bananas
This piece of weirdness has a lot of jazz on it, but a lot of Frank Zappa, too.
The Unfortunate Frankfurter Vendor
The strangeness continues. The lyrics to this are abrasive, but the music is pretty cool.
Last Dance
Imagine a more RIO oriented and weirder version of Frank Zappa and you are in the neighborhood of this piece.
Fill the Sheet
More of a balladic cut, this is still pretty weird.
The Still Nite
This is heavy and quite cool, but in many ways more of the slightly controlled chaos that dominates the disc.
Dance of the Ivy Dog
I pick up some of that Dead Kennedys thing here along with Pentwater. By this point, though, the weirdness is really starting to get mindnumbing.
Gotta Write A Poem
Here we go again, although, this has some pretty cool moments.
The Insipid City of York
This one’s a little more “normal.” There are still some odd timing changes and weird twists, but the main premise is more accessible and it feels a lot like some 1960’s psychedelia.
Board Organ (edit)
Here we have crazed RIO weirdness. It’s a real freakout.
The Continuing Story of Cragwheel the Corpse Pt. II
Combine ELP with Pentwater and Zappa and the Dead Kennedys and you’ll be pretty close to the idea here. The jam later is quite cool.
Lemon Flowers
This is a little more accessible. It’s psychedelia meets Pentwater.
Corrective Shoes
Old time music is blended with RIO on this piece of insanity. That’s alternated with a piece of catchy psychedelia that takes it out.
Pale Hippo
A hard rocking piece of strangeness, this is oddly catchy.
Sorry
If you ignore the weird vocals, this cut is a pretty cool prog rock instrumental rather like Zappa throughout quite a bit of its duration.
Chess is Boring
Chess might be boring, but this is weird. It’s also very short – less than a minute.
The Plague
This instrumental is one of the coolest tracks on show here.
 
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