"Crash", Shimmy Disc, 1993
Available on CD and LP
"Though some longtime fans may disapprove of the materials more refined -hence, less DIY - aesthetic, CRASH's songs are well crafted and well-executed. There are no more 15-second snippets of silly sound, no more additional players, and no more effects. Instead, Brohawn and Mason strum, bang, whistle, and sing their way through 16 cuts, none of which clocks in at less than two minutes, a remarkable feat considering that many of Casserole's 33 selections didn't surpass the one-minute mark.
Maybe the 10-year-old with the soot-covered glasses is growing up. It seems like it, because for the first time the Tinklers are getting serious about the subject of love. In fact, roughly one-fourth of the material on the new album deals directly with conditions of the heart. "Guru" opens with the line, "I'm in love with a girl who loves a guru". It figures that the Tinklers' idea of puppy love includes Karma, vows of silence, and eternal life, rather than cars, talking on the phone, and the little death (you know, it's a French referencre for orgasm). By song's end, the boy realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he'll "never be as good as the guru."
"Samiland Love Song" and "Foreign Exchange Student" are similarly atypical love songs. In the former, new love blossoms amid contamination from a nuclear accident, while in the latter, a boy falls in love with a foregn exchange student, she returns to her country, and when he visits her, she has a new boyfriend. It's sort of a coming-of-age double bummer.
Crash's remaining love song, "Deep Inside", reflects an even greater degree of maturity, much of it emotional. It opens with an observation that comes only with experience, long after coming of age has passed.
Deep inside each argument
There's a little walnut of truth
But I was angry at you for being angry
So I smashed the shell and the walnut too.
The song goes on to explore the expression of feelings and the motivation for such expressions. It's all a bit somber, but the Tinklers can't resist infusing the last verse with hope:
Underneath a sad mood,
A happy mood may lurk
You put your hands into my hands
And some of those happy feelings go to work.
Such a moment shows how far these guys have come - from singing about "Burpin fungus people with flashlight heads" (on Casserole) to contemplating serious emotions and long-term relationships.
Through it all, though, the Tinklers maintain their personas as faux innocents. This makes listening to Crash a little like viewing Super 8 birthday parties or flipping through Polaroid Christmases - it may trigger a breathless, swirling supply of childhood memories. And as Brohawn and Mason tell their stories, it's easy to slip your own images between the lines - swing sets, sandboxes, peanut butter, cold milk, haircuts, blanket tents, whispered secrets, frogs in boxes, muddy jeans, ruddy cheeks, snow angels, Sunday suits, bubble baths, baseball, jump rope, Ivory soap, fireflies, and butterflies. You may even want to hug your Mom and Dad.
-John Lewis, City Paper, Baltimore, 11/19/93
HANK GREENBERG AND JACKIE ROBINSON
SAMILAND LOVE STORY
FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT
TOOLS OF CAUTION
KNICK KNACK PADDYWHACK
I'M STICKIN' WITH YOU
THEY CALL THE WIND MARIAH
FUN FUN FUN IN THE SUN SUN SUN
All strumming, banging, whistling, and singing by The Tinklers. Emulator by Kramer. Engineered by Ron Paul. Produced by Kramer at Noise New Jersey, Fall, 1992.
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