Did I mention Farquar Muckenfuss is a psychotic surf band from the depths of some hidden, secret laboratory? They have a Man or Astroman? feel, but also contain a dash of Devo flavor that preserves a sweet geekiness. “They Grow Their Own Meat” is a musical presentation of some abnormal quality that Farquar seems to possess in abundance. If you check out the song list, then you know what I’m talking about. The long list of tracks is only half of what lurks on the album. Between each song lies a mixture of sounds and movie samples. Farquar definitely scored points with me when I heard an excerpt from “The Shining” between the first two tracks.
The surf tunes are very garage-oriented, lacking the smoothness of Los Straitjackets, but still creating a southern California feel. However, there are tracks like “Toy Train” and “Eddy” that have an almost Dick Dale sound (especially “Toy Train”) that fit the bleach blonde hairdo ideal a bit more. They feature a more common surf sound and are not so off-the-wall as much of the rest of the CD. At times, “They Grow Their Own Meat” sounds like a punk band covering surf tunes (“Hit The Guy On The Bike,” “The Veldt”), but I give Farquar much more credit than that. If you ever wondered what a surf song by Ween would sound like, send your player over to track 16 and find out. The rest of the album is a blue-ribbon blend of quality surf and deranged sounds that proves Burnt Toast Vinyl’s taste for the unusual.
If I didn’t know these guys were of a good moral standing, I would say there was an abundant amount of inhalants used in the making of “They Grow Their Own Meat.” However, I have spoken to them and they are quite capable of carrying on clear, intelligent conversations. They just happen to be much more creative than your average band. Farquar Muckenfuss brings a certain freshness to a genre that has been around since the 50’s. They’ve evolved surf into a peculiar dimension many are afraid to venture (pardon the pun) into, launching it into an orbital, spacey realm, while keeping it based in the Roswell-ian experimental laboratory they claim to have created. Buy the album for the music, the sounds, and the tasty sleeve art, but beware, Farquar will control you.
One final thing… unless you want to hear a fictional, well-rehearsed story, don’t bother to ask Farquar Muckenfuss anything about the meaning of their band’s name. I did that once, and got the reply, “It’s an aquatic bird.” Later that evening, I overheard someone finding out that the name was derived from an old man who enjoyed torturing himself. You get the picture. Their live show reflected the mysterious title, too, as they arrived on stage with scientific contraptions attached to their heads and a peculiar “Germanic” fellow taunting the audience and praising the obscure Farquar Muckenfuss. In the end, they were pulled off stage by black-robed men, and their instruments were set on fire and abused.
Farquar will control you.
Written by Nolan Shigley.