Local power trio releases innovative new album, Spooky Fingers
It feels like I’ve written a lot about Genki Genki Panic in the last year, and I have, but then the boys have been producing a lot of content and each new entry is, in the words of the band, totally kick-ass. Their latest album, Spooky Fingers, is scheduled for release on March 12th, and while the five song EP isn’t necessarily a departure for the group, it is, in its way, stretching into new territory.
New territory or not, the first thing you’ll notice is that the band has returned to its original lineup of señors Chancho, Larde, and Fatsquatch (this, after a brief flirtation with some additional members.) Life as a power trio really seems to work best for the boys in masks and is probably truer to their style anyway.
So what’s new and different about this EP? Chancho says that it was influenced more by soundtracks than anything they’ve done before and that is readily apparent, although not in a derivative way.
Personally, I can’t hear any other soundtrack in this music, but the collection itself sounds like a soundtrack, and a really, really great one. It’s like a soundtrack in the best way, like Until the End of the World was a soundtrack (one of the very best of the nineties) or virtually anything Trevor Jones has ever done.
That isn’t to say one can’t hear influences. The quasi-middle eastern vibe of “Werewolf by Night” is most assuredly a nod to the great Korla Pandit (find Pandit’s early performance of “Miserlou” on YouTube if you want to see where Prince got his act.)
Chancho cites Vic Mizzy as an influence. Oddly, Mizzy is best known for composing the Addams Family theme, while track two (“Two Girls, One Casket”) is strongly reminiscent of the Munsters theme by Jack Marshall. To take the weirdness full circle, the Munsters theme was originally described as Bernard Herrman-meets-Duane Eddy—Bernard Herrman being another prominent influence on this EP.
“Desecration” has an unmistakable (though I’d wager unintentional) Pink Floyd theme, if Pink Floyd were a rockabilly/surf band. “Phantom III 37” opens in a furious Dick Dale flurry of notes only to take a left turn at the 45 second mark, venturing in to a dreamier Twilight Zone (the TV show) direction. Speaking of Twilight Zone, “When Bats Cry,” is pure Twilight Zone/Outer Limit, the best creepy television music you’ve ever heard.
It’s difficult to put a specific label on this music, although the boys listing Martin Denny as an influence suggests “exotica” as a descriptor. Trouble is, it’s hard to say exactly what in the hell exotica is without hearing it first.
Perhaps it falls under the same category as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography, “I know it when I see it,” but whatever the case, Genki Genki Panic already has a reputation for producing solid, creepy, entertaining horror-themed instrumentals.
This latest addition to their catalog broadens those horizons a little oddly by making it all a tad more ambiguous. It could be horror, but it could be sci-fi, or avante garde or just general weirdness. If Vincent Price, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King were to have a party, this is the music they would play.
It’s an impressive new disc from an already impressive band that keeps getting better and better in a fiendishly short span of time. The band is Genki Genki Panic, the EP is Spooky Fingers, and it is available March 12th, with the band embarking on an East Coast tour shortly thereafter to promote the new tunes.
In the meantime, you can catch them playing with Roger Alan Wade and Hatestomp at the Honest Pint’s Valentine’s celebration on Monday and River City Rumpus on the 19th. In fact, the band has an impressive number of upcoming shows, all of which can be found on their Facebook page.
Destined to become the “must have” disc for every budding mad scientist and assorted weirdoes everywhere, Spooky Fingers is my favorite GGP release to date.