Casserole, Shimmy Disc, 1989

Available on CD, LP, Cassette

With their home-made instruments and simple, goofy songs of doom and despair, the Tinklers have baffled audiences at art galleries and performance spaces for some 10 years. But they never made a record - that is, until now. On their hour-long, 33-song debut, the Tinklers (Charles Brohawn and Chris Mason) successfully bring their performance-oriented act to vinyl. The duo does everything from straightforward folk songs about issues like nuclear weapons ("Norman Meyer") and corrupt, racist policy ("Eleanor Bumpers") to zany psycho-ditties about family and suburban hell ("Turn the Screw on the Crank" and "Mom Cooks Inside, Dad Cooks Outside"). Volume, energy, and tempo aren't factors in the Tinklers' music; you can turn the stereo up or down, and not much changes. You can pat your leg or tap your foot, but it'd be completely separate from what's on the record. The songs are played on guitars made of rubber bands, marimbas made of shoe-horns, and xylophones made of wrenches, and the guts really can't sing. Producer Kramer renders all of the found objects and non-singing voices startlingly authentic. The Tinklers' philosophy is age-old: anybody can play music on anything that's within shouting distance. Some people abuse that philosophy - the Tinklers use it. - Mark Kemp, Option, March/April, 1990.

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