Scatterbrain

Picture of Scatterbrain

Here Comes Trouble

Scatterbrain - Here Comes Trouble ©1990 In-Effect
1. Here Comes Trouble
2. Earache My Eye
3. That's That
4. I'm With Stupid
5. Down With The Ship (Slight Return)
6. Sonata #3
7. Mr. Johnson And The Juice Crew
8. Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom
9. Outta Time
10. Don't Call Me Dude
11. Drunken Milkman

Starting a joke type band is a very suspect endeavor. Most bands who try to infuse their music with novelty humor succeed in being interesting and funny on the first listen and have a staying value of exactly two days. Either the jokes end up forced or the music is weak to point of inanity, or worse, both.

Scatterbrain, formed from the ashes of Ludichrist, happened to avoid most of the pitfalls of joke bands on their debut Here Comes Trouble. Part of their success lies in the fact that guitarists Paul Nieder and Glen Cummings were two of the most inventive and capable guitarists on the scene in 1990. Secondly, while the songs are fairly dorky, they are the kind of dorky songs that you end up loving like a woebegone mutt. And even if the humor is too stupid for you to deal with, the actual songs are well written and played with a ton of talent. Fortunately, I find the humor fairly amusing. "Don't Call Me Dude", a takeoff of melodramatic 50s ballads mixed with a more thrashy approach, is the band's most beloved track, recalling the mental torment of a love cast aside. "I'm With Stupid" is the tale of a man who grows a second, much stupider head on his shoulder. "Drunken Milkmen" is simply disturbed. But above all, the band plays some very solid music. The hypercore rendition of Mozart's "Sonata #3" is an extremely impressive display of the two guitarists' abilities, while the collage of "Down With the Ship (Slight Return)" throws a ton of familiar rock radio riffs into one package. Tommy Christ's voice is hardly that of a prodigy, but his delivery is more than adequate.

Well produced, amusing and fun, Here Comes Trouble was Scatterbrain's best moment in their short existence, which was besmirched by a couple really lame efforts afterwards. Nevertheless, Here Comes Trouble is something any fan of the era should own.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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Scamboogery

Scatterbrain - Scamboogery ©1991 Elektra
1. Big Fun
2. Fine Line
3. Tastes Just Like Chicken
4. Grandma's House Of Babes
5. Sonata #11(Rondo Alla Turca)
6. Bartender
7. Scamboogery
8. Swiss Army Girl 9. Logic
10. Down The Road (Rock And Roll Ain't Pretty)

Following the success of Here Comes Trouble, Scatterbrain found themselves on a major label and poised for some serious success. Unfortunately, they completely jumped the shark and released a career killing album called Scamboogery. Despite production slicker than the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez, the album was completely bereft of memorable material. Rather than sounding like a serious band with a great sense of humor, Scatterbrain came off as nothing more than a bad joke.

Whereas the band's debut contained song after song of cleverness, Scamboogery lacks any amusing song topics. It does contain another classical song transcribed to metal ("Sonata #11 (Rondo Alla Turca") to demonstrate exactly how ripping the guitarists were, but otherwise there's not much to recommend. Tommy Christ's lyrics are uniformly unfunny and his delivery, while exactly the same as Here Comes Trouble, is entirely unconvincing. The story of a grandmother running a bordello (till senility strikes) is not exactly A-list material. Worse yet, the band includes horn sections, which is always the sign of a band that has lost its way. Without a single song even remotely as entertaining as the weakest material on the debut, Scamboogery is an absolute wreck of an album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2008

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