This album is exactly what you'd expect from a union of Middlefinger frontman Matt Kelly and reigning Press guitarist of the year Kelly Doyle -- a humorous romp through pop-punk, funk, metal and twisted little nursery rhymes that some critics will call "too mathy" and others will say is "too punk."
Yet another of the Lower Westheimer supergroups involved in Houston's sixth or seventh renaissance, LSP is fronted by Matt Kelly's wife Mo Perce, who proves herself up to the challenge. She sings, raps and shouts with the gritty intensity of Kathleen Hanna, so much so that it's difficult to believe this is her first band. And while her lyrics on "Natural Woman," "Brummagen Sister" and "Stroke" are full of introspective poetry and 50-cent words, Asstacular! still manages to not be overly esoteric. Hell, at one point Perce sings, "Try as you may you won't smell my pooh / That's why I'm so much cooler than you."
Still, there's a shade less humor to this than there was to Matt Kelly's Sprawl/Middlefinger experience, and it seems to borrow more from the heavier musical elements of Three Fantastic -- one of Doyle's other current bands. Matt Kelly attacks the keyboards much like he performs as a front man -- in a Sybil-esque fit of adult ADD augmented by brilliance and precision, and guitarist Doyle seems happy to duel for musical control. There is little or no traditional, verse-chorus-verse songcraft here. Often, brilliant riffs last only a few bars before moving on to something worlds apart. The end result owes as much to '80s pop as to '70s metal -- some songs will remind you of both Cyndi Lauper and Black Sabbath in a matter of seconds.
Les Saucy Pants
Engine Room, 1515 Pease, 713-654-7846.
Saturday, August 20. Bring Back the Guns, Dizzy Pilots, Clouseaux, Middlefinger and Three Fantastic are also on the bill.
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As enjoyable as the CD is, LSP is best experienced live. You might not be able to figure out how to dance to this stuff, but the band certainly has, and whether you're seeing LSP for the first or tenth time, you'll be shocked by how they can play such complicated music while performing equally impressive physical feats.