Birthday Breakfast 2001
(Personal Militia Records)
Among the several definitions for the word ‘slush’, several words stick out between them: melted, mud, grease, trashy. So it’s fitting that Wisconsin’s Slush serves as something of a melting pot, an amorphous, stinking punk stew comprised of the weirdest and crudest elements of the weirdest and crudest alternative bands spanning from the late ’80s to the early ’00s. It takes a special band to make the moronic stimulating, and Birthday Breakfast 2001 sure is evidence of Slush being ‘special’.
You’d have a hard time pinning down Slush’s sound to that of just one band, but a handful that come to mind include NoMeansNo, Butthole Surfers, The Dead Milkmen, Primus, and Ween: technically proficient and creatively ambitious bands who filter their talents through a lens of absurdity and indecency, partly to ward off snobs, partly in the spirit of art imitating life (and vice versa) and that meaning that art should be a bit bizarre, chaotic, unrefined, and maybe even not all that ‘important’. “Star Wars” is a vicious and vitriolic rant about the series’ prequels being underrated when compared to the overrated sequels, complete with funk transition. Elsewhere, you’ll find songs about drinking bugs, throwing up on boats, looking for lost dogs, and more than one involving feet. Birthday Breakfast 2001 more or less loosely stays within a framework of wacky experimental hardcore garage punk, but there are also two more laid back electronic interludes in “Papa Murphy’s Pizza” and “Dads”, the latter perhaps being the funniest track on the album as the band members’ fathers introduce themselves over a floating, ambient, elevator music-like composition (“I’m Tom, I’m Stone’s dad, and I live a life of microaggressions”).
Birthday Breakfast 2001 is an excellent example of when not taking yourself overly seriously does nothing but work in your favor and aid in your ability to be creative. As silly as it is, it certainly can’t be called lazy, and there’s a constant sense of anticipation and unpredictability as you listen throughout the album’s brief run-time. It almost feels like Slush have no idea where they’re going next, so how could you possibly know? It may not be the most textbook ‘important’ album to come out this year, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun and inventive punk record, and that’s pretty important.
Favorite tracks: “Toe Biter”, “Star Wars”, “Oh Where Oh Where Has My Dog Gone”
You can purchase Slush’s Birthday Breakfast 2001 here.