REVIEW: Size 14, Size 14 (Volcano)
- Bill Holmes
Boy, record companies sure like to jump on a trend! Right along with all the punk, pop and ska clones that are popping up like rabbits are a group of bands who play alterna-humor (their hyphen, not mine). Tongue firmly in cheek, hand firmly on my wallet, most try to be Weird Al's children while simultaneously trying to display street cred. Bad formula. Instant suck. You know their names. Actually, you've forgotten their names...
A few are not bad, though, because they truly *are* funny. Size 14, a Los Angeles-based band, write songs that could easily reside on a Weezer or Flipp record. Borrowing the power punch of bands like Cheap Trick, the music is riff-driven, catchy pop. Size 14 takes it a step further by actually slinging some guitar solos (no word on whether they're sincere or part of the parody, but they are pretty good!). Lead vocalist and lyricist "Linus" takes shots at everything, sometimes reverent (the hysterical "Claire Danes Poster"), and sometimes with a blatant wink and nudge. (This last explanation is a public service announcement for those heavy metal heads too dense to realize that "Prototype" is making fun of them.) "Shane", about a human photo-op, and "Superbabe 2000" ('she's a punk rock Sharon Stone...') continue in the "Danes" vein. Sounds like "Linus" masturbates a little too much, but hey - a muse is a muse.
"Linus" claims he writes what he thinks and merely exploits his insecurities. I'll have to give him that one; lines like "she's got a great body but it comes with a brain/and that's too bad" are too funny to be fiction. And speaking of funny, I've heard fewer songs funnier than "I Touched Her Ass" , and that's not a tune I want to be caught singing out loud. But dammit, I will - it's infectious chorus is irresistible, and the slap at Motley Crue is icing on the cake.
Most humor records wear thin after a few listens - how many times can you listen to the same joke? When the music is not there to back it up, like "Earthquake," it's just forgettable noise. But more often than not, Size 14 flashes the chops to back up the fun. If they continue to write songs like "510" and "I Touched Her Ass," they might stick for a while. If not, make room next to Nerf Herder in the dump bin.