Monday, November 24, 2008
BIRD BRAINS- Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich MCD(Phlegm Records 2002)
--sojourner at 8:03 PM
I read that the ostrich's eyes are bigger than their brains and like chicken they are not really clever. So if you want people to seriously take you as imbeciles you can call your band Bird Brains, which has made these bunch of goofy grindsters words made flesh. I can recall back in '91 their supreme piece of senile cakewalk lunacy, the “Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich” demo was praised and murmured to pedestal high, extolled by many of the most happening zines and column inches as one of the extremely brilliant Singapore demo release of that time. Of course anything exceptionally brilliant from the local music scene has to find its place in my collection so I made an order of this tape together with a bunch of other “interesting” demo tapes. I had that cassette with the funny comical coverart and I relished with immense satisfaction the intense vomitting drivel of self-depreciating gibberish sonic boom speedy grinding hardcore noise silly-birdcore. I think of them as Singapore's version of the superbly silly speed thrashcore band Old Lady Drivers meet Nausea. Then again we have our own Impetigo (Singapore's legendary grindcore overlords Demisor) and our very own Napalm Death (another legend by the name of Martyrdom). From the late '80s to the early '90s grindsters rule like nobody's business from Bedok and Geylang to Forum Galleria and Jurong.
Bird Brains was formed in early 1989 as Plague and Morbid Deformity before Boh joined the band and adopted the moniker Bird Brains. By then the group consisted of Boh Burhan (guitars), “Blurp” Shawal (vocals, guitars), “Rotten Senile” Isa (bass) and “Toothache” Isham (drums). They switched from their earlier death metal influence to more grindcore style heavily influenced by Filthy Christians, Napalm Death, Sore Throat, Old Lady Drivers and even Sham 69 and Extreme Noise Terror to quote a few. Well, most of my cassette tapes have reached their journey's end and rot and fungus became them. Fortunately with the advent of CD technology many of the old analog classics are etched nicely onto those pieces of compact plastics. The “Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich” CD I am reviewing unfortunately does not have the actual demo recordings on it. Instead, it consisted of their cult demo re-recorded and remixed in 2002. They've also got many new tracks thrown in, as well as the most true to form remix of their 1993 track “Genital Mutilations” taken from the “Made In Singapore” (MIS) Volume 1 Compilation tape. So in the end to be honest with you, I've got a lukewarm feeling about this CD.
All the nice important tracks from “Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich” are inside, like “Baseball Maniac”, “Bird Brains”, “Nightmare on Bird Street” and “Free The Sky” and yet they all sound somewhat different and more technical as compared to the mindless harmless fun on their old tape. The new tracks are not too bad, like “Dead Drunk Society”, “Filthy”, etc, although we see them moving towards a more sterile, “serious” and brutal direction, a continent away to what normally entice me in lo-fi amateurish fun grinding. Well, to each his own, I am just not into brutal, heavy technical modern metal. What can I do? I can only wet my pillow and nod my head approvingly to Carpenter's “Yesterday Once More”. The Bird Brains I fondly recall are the bunch of loony misfits making funny faces and sticking their tongue in cheeks. Well, many years on, the once funny dudes are yearning to be taken seriously, and the band photos in the insert liner are looking too solemn for my liking. I guess the balloons are popped and half the fun are lost. “Why so serious?”