1000 Albums Project

GUEST REVIEW 19

The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move, it’s the Infectious Grooves, by Infectious Grooves
Reviewed by Mike Major

If the characters in the album’s title was the main criteria, then this little number is surely a contender.

I have not been one for unnecessary fluff, mixing unnecessary words into sentences, just to make up an octopus wordcount, so in everyone’s interest, I’m going to refer to this as “TPTMYBM…ITIG”.

No.

That’s just stupid.

It will be further condensed to ‘This album’ or ‘This’ or ‘It’.

I’ve not heard of this band or ‘This’, though in the post-apocalyptic Covid world we now inhabit, anything to do with plagues and infections is relevant for everyone’s playlists, right?

I am a self-confessed musical Luddite for having no knowledge of ‘This’.  Make no bones about it, I know practically nothing about music. I know what I like, and I like what I know. I rarely venture away from my musical familiar comfort blanket beyond “suggested for you” play lists, abstract covers and the music equivalent of YouTube-hopping from one to the next.

A quick wiki search allows me to discover that they are an “American Funk Metal Supergroup”. A supposed side project from their day jobs. This is their first album (of 3) and was released in the early 90s. They are fronted by an ex Faith No More guitarist, Metallica bassist, and the drummer did some stuff for Rage against the Machine & the Chilli Peppers. All good so far, many of those are on my playlists.

The lead singer, Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies (who I’d not heard of outside of this project) it turns out later released some solo stuff under the name ‘Cyco Miko’. A truly marvellous play on his name. From one Mike to another, I’d have plumped for ‘Psycho Miko’, but each to their own. How will psychotic Mike & his merry men will get on I wonder…

The opening salvo has a very Chilli Peppers vibe and is a lot easier on the ears than I expected. Its certainly heavier than most RHCP stuff, but not too much as to take away the vibe. “Therapy”, the second song has Ozzy Osbourne doing some lyrics in the chorus for whatever reason. An album titled about plagues and the world’s most famous bat-muncher. Hmmm…

Then, a comedy skit jumps hits me square in the face. I am thrown by it. It is something to do with lizards escaping. It might just be an in-joke, but I did not really get it. Thankfully, it’s short and by the time I had adjusted from the rich base baselines and funky grooves to the lizards talking, it’s over.

“Stop Funk’n with my head” was a standout for me, with a the most noteworthy lyric of “…And you ain’t got a clue and you smell like poo and you can’t even walk with your size 20 shoes..” This I feel epitomises the aura of goofiness these guys had making ‘This’. The thrashy guitar leads have a distinctly 90s feel, though the lyrics felt more rap-y than metal-y (good adjectives skills right here I know!). There is no escaping the twinge of metal, but it is subtle and not in your face. Subtle Metal. Groovy Metal. Think about that.

“I’m gonna be my king” begins with a mellow guitar solo, and just as I think – “oh this is different”, it reverts back to type. Another choice lyric of “Thoughts annihilated-you’re mentally constipated” reminds me that its not just my 6 and 4year olds that like toilet-based comedic songs. We return then back to the mesmerising guitar solos, which wouldn’t be out of place in a reflective moment in a 90’s show such as err let’s go with Baywatch.

Then another skit.  About security this time, something lizardy again. Did not get it.

Then the namesake “Infectious grooves”. A mashup where you can hear the distinctive RHCP & FNM tones in the instrumentals, and simpler underlying harder chorus of “Infectious, Infectious, Infectious…..Infectious”

Another skit. “Somebody has the infectious blues.” There might have been a lizard, but this was musical enough to count as a track

“Monster Skank” felt like a Madness song battling to get out; awkwardly imprisoned between some excellent base and guitar riffs and some shouting. I start feeling that I’m appreciating the music more than the vocals.

Then a bongo solo occurred.  Literally out of no-where. Not once have I noticed a bongo-er to this point. Mind blown. Not entirely sure on the point of it, but bongo-time certainly added a different dimension to ‘it’.

Then, another skit, green creatures. Definitely lizards. Still do not get it. Still time.

“Do the Sinister” felt like the watershed moment that the guys on the lead guitar and bass were on a different level to the rest of the band, and the vocalists are just trying to keep up. Frankly I’d have cut some of the very repetitive lyric of “Minister of the sinister” to hear some more guitar skills.

10 seconds of laughing made up “Mandatory Love Song”. Possibly lizards, impossible to say.

So overall an interesting concoction; an album I doubt id have found organically, but with only a degree of separation or two to genres I know and love. I’d not be surprised to see a song or 2 on a recommended playlist.

I’d give this a 6/10. Personally, I felt the skits were not needed and detracted from some excellent baselines and energy. The whole thing felt a bit like a jam session; some mates having a laugh and releasing something fun, rather than something that ticks the boxes. I felt that the guitarists (and yes, I guess for 10 seconds the bongo-ist too) were carrying ‘Cyco Miko’, but I’m no metal head, so maybe I’m wrong.

Funky Punky Groovy Comedy Metal eh? Well it’s a genre I didn’t know existed. It’s the answer to a question that isn’t ever quite ready to be asked, and nobody knows if it even needs asking in the first place.

It is clear however, that they had fun making it, and I enjoyed parts more than I thought I would. I did not absolutely hate it, but I’ll probably quietly put this in the ‘not really for me’ list and head back to my sanctuary. Unless of course the lizards get me first…

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