thu 27/01/2022

Album: Paul Leary - Born Stupid | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Paul Leary - Born Stupid

Album: Paul Leary - Born Stupid

Butthole Surfer keeps the freak flag flying high

Weird and unhinged

“I could have been a doctor or a lawyer, playing golf with my rich friends at the club” bemoans Paul Leary on the title track of his first solo album in 30 years.

That, however, would have deprived the rest of us of the warped genius of the Butthole Surfers: those insane, heavy psychedelicists who seem to have somehow been relegated to a mere footnote in the history of Grunge, and of whom Leary was guitarist and occasional singer.

Born Stupid may not have the Black Sabbath-esque riffing, disturbing samples and punk rock heft of the Buttholes, but listeners who are familiar with their off-kilter and irreverent LSD-soaked strangeness will find themselves in very recognisable territory. There are even covers of “The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” and their tribute to the Dicks’ lead singer “Gary Floyd”, as well as early 90s’ out-take “The Adventures of Pee Pee the Sailor”. Not that any of these tunes sound much like the originals. Instead, they are reworked variously as: a Negativland-like deranged take on circus clown music; an acoustic strum-along; and a crazed sea shanty.

Elsewhere there are weird and unhinged nursery rhymes like “Do You Like to Eat a Cow” and “Sugar is the Gateway Drug”, the stretched and disfigured Tex-Mex Country and Western of “Mohawk Town” and “Throw Away Freely”, which comes over as light opera soaked in a stew of particularly potent brain spanglers. Middle of the road, light weight rock this most certainly is not. Indeed, Born Stupid will raise plenty of belly-laughs with its black humour and, while only “What Are You Gonna Do?” veers particularly close to the Butthole Surfers’ dark and trippy psychedelic sound, it will also have many wishing that Paul, Gibby, Pinkus and King Coffey would get back into the studio together and fry some minds again.

Listeners who are familiar with the Butthole Surfers' off-kilter and irreverent LSD-soaked strangeness will find themselves in very recognisable territory


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters