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Flip over the innocent, twee looking cover of this latest album by Chicago's glam/funk/indie lunatic Bobby Conn and you'll find pictures of fighter planes, guns and explosions; scenes of war. And that's Conn in a nutshell: daft, contradictory, political, loveable and hateable in equal measure. He might as well be wearing a spinning bow tie with "I'm mad, me!" scrawled across it whilst giving you a very stern look. "It's a record for the Occupy generation" claims the press release. No it's not, it's a record made by a talented man who's trying to be wacky, controversial and get your back up at the same time.
What a mixed bag it is. The title track is as joyously madcap as an ode to packet mix pasta should be; pure pop fun. The political messages here are as standard and basic as their titles suggest: 'Can't Stop The War' ("a song started in 2008 but thankfully still relevant today" - yep, thank fuck we're still at war, Bobby), 'GREED', 'More Than You Need', 'Govt.'. War is bad, governments are corrupt, people are selfish; no shit Sherlock. Half of these tracks are wrapped in vulgar funk-rock that is presumably aiming for Taking Heads but ends up being closer to an indiepop Red Hot Chili Peppers; something no one asked for.
That said, it's difficult to totally dislike this record. As well as the excellent 'Macaroni', there other are sporadic points that it's difficult to disapprove of. On 'Face Blind' he tries to be Prince; the ridiculous disco of 'The Truth' is just too fun to have any qualms with; the subtle strings and chorus of 'Walker's Game'. Knowing that Bobby Conn tries to divide opinion also prevents this album becoming too unbearable, and while that's all well and good, you can't help but wish he'd cut the crap and make the kind of great album that he's surely capable of. But for now, and for better or worse, Bobby Conn's scheme is running entirely according to plan.
Bobby Conn's website
Buy the album
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