Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review #194: Grand Funk Railroad - E Pluribus Funk (1971)


Year: 1971
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Capitol Records
Tracks: 7
Length: 35 Minutes
Style: Political/Emotional
My Rating: 7/8

So a one night last week, I went to Goodwill, to see if I could find anything worth purchasing. Well, I bought a t-shirt, and in the cassette bin I actually found a GRAND FUNCK RAILROAD tape. I had never listened to them prior to this in my life, but I had heard about them from the Butthole Surfers and I really liked the cover of the song "Paranoid" from their album called "Double Live". So, for only 99 cents, I took my chance and bought the tape. So THEN, a day later... I LISTENED TO IT. It was pretty good. I dunno whether to describe it as being "hard rock" or "heavy metal" since as far as I'm concerned, those terms pretty much are interchangeable, and as the title implies, there are some funk-y elements of the band's music as well. Anyways, time to review this album, man.

1. Foot Stompin' Music
The beat seems pretty stompin', there's some organ alongside a throbbin' bass guitar, and then the singer, Mark Farner (who Paul Leary named his DOG after!) is singing the song. Pretty badass lead guitar. Actually, know what this song kind of reminds me of? THE THEME SONG FOR SESAME STREET! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Didn't Cookie Monster invent the whole death-metal vocal style, anyways? Only the thing Grand Funk Railroad are definitely not death metal. So go stomp yer diRty feet and get stompin'... all the way over to the other song. Mang.

2. People, Let's Stop the War
Yep, an anti-war song. The song begins with a very beautiful guitar riff accompanied by a real cool bass melody. OOH. OOH. OOH. OOH-OOH. Those were some of the first lyrics I heard in this song. Then things REALLY kick off with that funky-ass guitar sound. WHAP WHU-WHAP-WOWP-WAMP!!! That was a really bad textual impression of what the guitar sounds. But you might get the idea... right? Well, the rhythm guitar is really amazing-sounding in this song. There's some pretty nice technically-good vocals from MarkFarn and then there is the group-shout of "PEOPLE, LET'S STOP THE WAR!" in the chorus. Vietnam was a real shitty war. And you can alwayz count on the same man who brings you the vocal chord vibrations heard in this song to bring ya some wild-sounding guitar wankage. Like, the good kind of wanking that feels real good on your penis. Except this time it's an ear instead of a pennis. Who wants to start wars when you've got a song this good tellin' ya not to? I dunno. I say this is probably my favorite song on this album.

3. Upsetter
Kicks off with a cool riff. The drum beat is also real cool to listen to. Is that a clopping horsey I'm hearing in the sides of my ears? Well, maybe it is. It's real hard to tell what you're just hearing yer head and what you aren't anymore. Like, what if we're all just slowly growing crazier as a populace? Do mind-control waves being emitted out of otherwise useless structures in public gathering areas really exist? Sometimes I have to wonder. The final chorus is played a couple steps higher than the usual chorus sections of the song. Oh, and if you like harmonicas, there's a lot of that in this song. Then at the very end I hear some nice-sounding guitar strumming.

4. I Come Tumblin'
He comes tumblin', eh? THAT'S A LOT OF CUM, MAN!!! The singing and guitar riff have a very confident, triumphant aura to them. The drumming of mister Don Brewer (perhaps he liked to make beer) is about as good as it gets in some parts of the song. AGH, what an amazing mid-section... you get a mid-tempo more relaxed beat and melody alternating with a real frantic, fast drumming and guitaring part! And just wait for the climax and aftermath (end of the song) of that! You'll be impressed. End of Side A.

5. Save the Land
The guitaring is good. The song reminds me a lot of "People, Let's Stop the War" from earlier, but a little faster and not quite as good. But it's still a good song. The chorus section is a little more up-beat with harmonizing vocals and the like. The beat sounds awesome in that part of the song. "The whole world WILL get high"... FUCK YES. You heard it, the whole world! You motherfuckers WILL get high. YOU WILL. So start injectin' that heroin and smokin' the weed, 'cuz it's now or later, you big buttholes! The lyrics of the song encourage people to fight back at the government to preserve their property and what rightfully belongs to them.

6. No Lies
A little slower. The guitar has a real hot, fiery sound to it, and the singing is just excellent sounding. The leads are fuckin' sexual and this is just the type of song you could FUCK to. Yes sir. NO LIES. The singer of the songer assures the listener that he "isn't gonna sell ya". In the bridge section, the song briefly cuts into an abnormaly speedy tempo before settling down back into the standard pace.

7. Loneliness
This is a really long song. It's more mellow than the other songs. A bit more depressing-sounding. The lyrics describe a need to protect and preserve the earth and humanity to save it from an otherwise assured demise. The chorus section surprisingly jolts up into a louder, more upbeat type of groove. There are some good keyboard effects used in this song also that enhance the emotional energy of the song. In the very end of the song, things speed up and the soundscape is filled with a barrage of harmonious synth sounds. And that's all, kiddies.

Well, it was really a pleasant surprise when I bought this tape and listened to it to find out that it really didn't suck. At all. At Goodwill it's hard to find much music of quality beyond maybe some obvious record that everybody already owns. But it's a real nice, heavy, chock-full-of-great-sounds-and-riffs-and-beats-and-stuff album. Actually, when this album was first released, the LP came in a case that was shaped and textured like a gigantic coin, as shown on the album cover. That's pretty legit. Anyways, do check this record out. I think punks can get into it also, you just need to have an open mind and some taste. Taste meaning appreciation for something outside of the status quo. Enough 'bout that, thuh. Guh thuhth uhbum. Nuh. Pluh. Actually, a lot of people said that everything they did after this album sucked, but I've only heard this album and the song that the Butthole Surfers covered. I'll be sure to review their other records later. I had fun writing about this one.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. People, Let's Stop the War
2. No Lies
3. I Come Tumblin'

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