Reviewed by Jack Derricourt
Jason Pierce, the leader of Spiritualized as well as psych-oddity buddies all over the world, stated that his favourite psych rock artist was Buddy Holly. Now, Pierce was trying to make a point that the genre is worth expanding, rather than sticking in a rigid box of reverse cymbals and echo-drowned guitar solos, but someone in Winnipeg must have been listening. The Unbelievable Bargains like to think of themselves as Buddy Holly on acid. Don’t worry, the judgment came from an inebriated crowd member at a show — these fellas are legit.
There is certainly a Holly-esque, cheery, big grin wedged deep within the music of the Bargains, especially on their new release, Boiled Egg. They write about absolute positivity more often than not. “Octopus of love / Won’t you give me a hug?” is but a touch of the simple, sing-song content all over the album. The tracks are tight, sticking to the two minute mark for the most part. Production that balances the three piece fairly evenly in the mix is reminiscent of 90s guitar albums, and gave me a warm gooey feeling for the most part.
For all its minimalism, Boiled Egg is an idiosyncratic record. “Breakfast Special,” a tune that rocks hard about hangover breakfast, starts with the guitars chiming with the alarm clock and progresses to pontificating on runny yolks. There’s also some smart song curation going on here: the doo wop ridiculousness of “Pickin Up Stray Cats” is followed directly by the “Dog Show.” Then comes “So Many Bunnies.” Yep, this is the musical equivalent of those “Ten Videos to Brighten Your Day” lists now copulating all over the net.
Boiled Egg feels like a journey back to childhood. One part Mr. Rodgers, one part Ramones, the music of the Unbelievable Bargains takes innocent fun on as a full-time job. I would listen to this album with my first child or my last friend — especially the four minute epic, “The Story of Squirtle.” That song is deep man, deep like water: “Hydrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen, and a shell.” Buddy Holly couldn’t have said it better.
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)
Top Tracks: “Breakfast Special” , “Pickin’ Up Stray Cats”