Full Disclosure: I used to be in a band with Joy and Jill Gerwe, the respective drummer and guitarist for Muncie, Indiana band Killjoy Confetti. Joy, in fact, is probably the best friend I’ve ever had. For years, I wanted to tour the country in a rock band with these women. Later, I figured out this whole writing thing, and the rest is history.
I received my copy of The Fun Is a few weeks ago, a gift from Joy. Killjoy Confetti has one earlier record out, Into the Light, which they recorded when they were known as Arcade (a cease and desist order from Sony forced a name change). Into the Light, while rushed through the recording process and not the most competently played project, was full of a vital, foot-stomping energy, a pop record you couldn’t ignore. Into the Light was and remains one of my favorite records.
Then there’s The Fun Is…
I’ll start with the cover art. Why not, huh? I’ll just say that I pity the poor record store clerk who has to ring this puppy up. It’s covered, and I mean covered, with barcodes. They overlap and intersect, and I have no idea if any of them is an actual barcode. The rest of the art is full of candy canes, fishing lures, pills, and a bullet. It looks like some vague attempt at being artistic, but I can’t be sure. The liner notes, such as they are, are meant to follow arches of color, but somebody didn’t feel like spending enough time in Illustrator to make it work.
Onto the disc!
The Fun Is opens with a slow build into “Standford Prison Experiment No. 2.” The only problem is, it doesn’t build to much of anything. The song simply drones, making such rich and intersting subject matter as the Stanford Prison Experiment sound downright boring.
Maybe this is the problem with The Fun Is. It’s much more competently played than Into the Light, while not being anything near as interesting. That’s a shame, because I get the feeling Killjoy Confetti was trying to be more interesting than entertaining with this record.
There’s some great stuff there, no doubt. Much of the vocal overplay between singer Carrie Conley and the Gerwe’s is incredible, especially the rising and falling vocal tremors on “Neer Neer”. Carrie’s voice falters often, though. She just don’t have the lungs yet. The interaction between the guitar and Lisa Fett’s bass is very accomplished. Those or things that can be said about bands like Rush and Jethro Tull, though, and those bands bore the crap outta me.
I really wanted to like this record. I love the people involved, and I loved what they used to be, but while their last record included such great tunes as “Holly,” “Closer to the Moon,” and “Slipper,” all I can say about the current disk is that some of the songs are pretty good. Still, The Fun Is will probably do well with those who fancy themselves artists and intellectuals. Us poor folks who have to live in this world, however, will have to hope for an Arcade reunion.
Highs: “Things I Wanna Do” “Neer Neer”
Lows: “Excuse the Blood” “Crooked Teeth”