Review: Sugar Pills Bone – Lumb (Orb Tapes, Nov 18)

Looking at the credited musicians for Lumb (Boney Dog Davis and Sleepy Sugar Thompkins) and the absurd list of instruments, which includes anything from “possum fiddle” and “git’r” to “tall tales” and “crunch and twinge,” it’s just as hard to discern what’s actually real as it is in the music itself. Do any parts of those aliases come from the artists’ real names? Is there really audible use of a “hobo sack” in any of these recordings (because yes, it’s entirely possible, if a hobo sack is what I think it is)? Where exactly do the “gravy samples” stop and the actual musicianship—a term used quite loosely here—begin? But the answer I, and you, should give to these questions is who cares? The newest tape from the enigmatic Sugar Pills Bone project is about as intellectual an affair as you make it to be, but by the time you come across the… gratuitous “Without Me” sample on “Greasy Piece E” I’d venture that you won’t want to lean too heavily into some astute critical analysis. Like Proud Trash Sound, an album with which Lumb shares some notable qualities, the primary goal here is fun, and it’s not hard to have it as you submerge yourself in these jittery junk piles of frantic bluegrass blasphemy, startling noise blasts, disorienting tape-sample tendrils, hilariously recognizable snatches of pop songs and who the hell knows what else. I implore you not to just take my word for the astonishing heights of absurdity this thing reaches; at the very least just listen to “Cain’t Deny My Wormhole, Buckaroo.” It’s always great when you enjoy music because it cracks you up—something that’s very hard to pull off. If I end up grabbing this tape it’ll go with Horse Cock Phepner in the “Jack just needs a good laugh” pile.

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