Detroit Grand Pubahs - Madd Circus (DetEleFunk)

The fourth offering from Detroit's forebearers of techo-funk leaves a lot to be desired.

Released Sep 27th, 2010 via DetEleFunk / By Allan Judkins
Detroit Grand Pubahs - Madd Circus (DetEleFunk) The so-called “circus music” depiction can be torn many ways. It could either be likened to a midnight cabaret environment of multi instrumentalist show-zingers (the Tiger Lillies for example), a grueling gypsy-rave mash-up melee such as the “clown-core” of Ed Cox, an interweaving x-directional slice of confusing math-rock that some see as madness over music, or now a testosterone-heavy industrial techno-funk coalition. Enter Detroit Grand Pubahs.

“Crazed ringmaster” Paris The Black Fu poses as a Papa Lazarou-like hellraiser before three collapsed possibly dead household circus animals. He is joined by “MC” Mr. O on the fourth album from the ‘Pubahs, and seeing as that particular noun is underlined in red here it seems that only Urban Dictionary could clear such intrigue. “Poobah - a scary leader of a cult or other diabolical gathering spawned to compromise the national security of the United States of America”. However much of their material suggests otherwise; the single ‘Numb, Deaf And Dumb’ indicates that they care more for banal relationship quibbles and shallow lyrics that wouldn’t be horrendously out of place in a 15 year old’s emo ballad.

There is plenty more to rip apart, with ‘Autotragik’ instantly resembling a pisstake Flight Of The Conchords song about robotic heartbreak. Even the following skit ‘Hoes In My Studio’ has the classic Jemaine-esque non-lyrical mumbling amongst lines, you’d expect the line “come on sucker lick my battery” to come in to the fold. ‘Much Better’ contains a horribly repetitive loop of Mr. O saying “yeah”. Nearly every bar. Yeah. Makes you want to repetitively smack the man. Trying not to take this too seriously, they do drop in the humour in their music required for this not to be an absolute 100% joke. One of the musical high points is ‘Breakfast In Bed’ that captures the spirit of the love walrus Barry White delightfully indulging in kitsch, sexual retro-soul chic. That is until the ultimate cringe factor enters the room in the form of a one-sided sexual dialogue rendering it nothing more than a squirmy 70s porn flick in audio.

Madd Circus is more of a bad circus, with no extra D. It’s a long, bad circus too to add insult, as there are eighteen tracks. Two are acapella versions of the singles, while the electronic side of things comes across adequately sound; it’s the vocals that are unendurable. It seems like game over, the lions and elephants are dead on the artwork, and for the freaks – well, you can’t help but feel sorry for them.