The Phantom Tollbooth

(grade E but edible)
Artist: Farquat Muckenfuss
Label: Burnt Toast Vinyl
Time:  71:21 min,/ 36 Tracks

A nicely crafted pastiche of found sounds and radio samples frame high-energy rockabilly/surf guitar instrumentals.

The cover suggests a level of bizarre humor the music never quite attains as Tom Foolery, guitars; Harvy Wallbanger, "all-impending doom'; and Salvador Monella, "severed head," investigate some sort of conspiracy involving a gorgeous blond a la "X Files." Any decipherable words on the project are from other sources, which makes its themes very obscure. The sound bites from the militia broadcasts were the only standout.

This isn't a bad listen--great driving music, actually--and probably was a lot of fun to construct. A small independent release, it won't disappoint if you run across a copy someplace, but it isn't worth going out of your way to seek out. Still, I'll be interested in hearing of further developments from Farquar Muckenfuss.

By Linda T. Stonehocker (2/20/99)

Farquar Muckenfuss has created a bizarre rockabilly album comprised of  instrumentals interspersed with radio and film samples, taking listeners through an entire mind control process. While listening to They Grow Their Own Meat, one can imagine a Vincent Price or Ed Wood sci-fi movie using songs from this album as scene-setting background music.

Who is Farquar Muckenfuss?  According to the liner notes, the band is comprised of two brothers, Dr. Tom Foolery (strings) and Dr. Harvey Wallbanger (impending doom), plus their cousin Salvadore Monella (severed head).

The CD liner also includes photos of strange work being done on patients, including one photo I classify as "the nurse from Hades." There's also a shot of a dignitaries' dinner from the past, identities of the guests not disclosed, making one think that perhaps strategic decisions were made by world leaders while under the Farquar Muckenfuss spell.

The band has a fairly tight sound and plays songs of various tempos using guitar and percussion instruments, some played rather strangely.  Many of the songs have nice melodies repeated throughout that could get stuck in the listener's head.  Standouts on the CD, which is dedicated to Vincent Price, include the humorous "Hit the Guy on the Bike," and "Harlem Sunset," which sounds like major advancements are being made with the patient. "To Change the Subject Abruptly and on Purpose" sounds as though the researchers are doing exactly that, and "The Martian Death March" is a fun song that follows the patient's abrupt change.

Although this is the band's debut album, rumor has it that Farquar Muckenfuss has already called it quits. Of course, only time will tell if there's truth to that tale.
 
So, if you're looking for something a bit different, go ahead and give this album a try. What do you have to lose? Only control of your mind.
 
Trish Patterson (4/29/99)