*** KING MISSILE, "King Missile"; Atlantic
Looking for a non sequitur simile? John S. Hall's the guy to call. This modern-rock-age hipster--the guy behind last year's left-field meditation on maleness "Detachable Penis"--is a master at describing things in ways that probably would never occur to the rest of us. He's like Allen Ginsberg playing one of those fill-in-the-blanks word games, to use a more straightforward image than Hall ever would.
On his band's sixth album, he's also perfected a flat, deadpan delivery that gives his oddball observations an almost hypnotically matter-of-fact quality, especially when he takes a stream-of-consciousness approach and the band backs him with a sort of free-associating neo-bop rock.
It's less effective when he actually sings and the band actually tries to form structured songs. The result is sort of a less-histrionic Perry Farrell in front of a fairly average bar band. Jim Carroll, the last New York poet to make his mark as a rocker, had a similar problem. But even with irony replacing steel-eyed realism, King Missile's highs are nearly as striking as Carroll's.
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