April 07, 2005

Gibby Haynes & His Problem "s/t"

Gibby Haynes, the mastermind behind the Butthole Surfers, is a complicated man who makes challenging music. There’s no denying that he’s had a long career of utter weirdness; two decades on, he’s still a man whose name is synonymous with ‘strange.’
That he’s been rather successful at what he does is even more impressive, but perhaps the weirdest thing is that his tendency to not stay still music-wise is still challenging the listening world. After twenty plus years, Gibby’s decided to step out with a solo record, and it’s a good thing, this.

That the reviews of this record, for the most part, have been rather negative shows that the music world still only thinks they understand Gibby Haynes, when, in fact, they fail to grasp one simple fact: that the only thing you should expect from him is the unexpected. The most surprising aspect of this record is what makes it so challenging: it’s what you might consider…relatively normal. There’s no acid-freakouts here; there’s no loud, challenging screaming moments, either. Though you might hear casual hints of Butthole on “Redneck Sex” and “Charlie”--where, tellingly, Haynes sings “Been a long time since I lost my mind”--for the most part, the material here is straightforward Texas psych-rock, but even then, it’s more ‘rock’ than ‘psych.’ To compare Gibby Haynes & His Problem to his past records would do Haynes—and you—a great disservice.

When you separate Haynes’ past from his present, you’ll be stunned to discover that Haynes has a pretty keen pop sense, and several songs on this record are quite catchy. “Letter” has a quite addictive keyboard lick; “15000” has some vocal manipulation that’s not really that weird but will make you come back for more, and it’s simply impossible to deny the appeal of “Dream Machine,” too. Oh, he’s got the ability to write songs that are quite colorful and unique in a catchy but juvenile way—“Superman,” for instance, where he sings about Superman smoking pot he got from Dan Rather—but for the most part, his songs are relatively straightforward.

“Straightforward.” I never thought the day would come that I’d use that word to describe anything by Gibby Haynes, but the times have changed, and slightly psyched-out rock like that found on Gibby Haynes & His Problem is no longer an anomaly, thanks, in large part, to Gibby Haynes! Keep on keepin’ on, brother. You’re not wrong, man. The rest of the world is…

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.surfdog.com/gibby.html
Label Website: http://www.surfdog.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gibby Haynes And His Problem was always cranked up in the CD player duing our road trips through Texas and New Mexico this past summer. Excellent road trip tunes. Crazy times - Crazy weather...