Published Jun 24, 2014Songs of unregulated sausage production, Pierre Trudeau's death train, paprika and a purported ritual involving the King of Zambia's body lain to rest on live, undesirable peasants populate yet another raucous record by Friendly Rich. A comedic provocateur who knows full well that life is a carnival, Rich and his band mine circus jazz, post-punk and the deconstructed rock that Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa once dispatched. But he's perhaps more prideful than most; a singer, songwriter, educator, impresario and instigator, Rich is also a difference-maker on a local level.
"Acton, Acton my dear," he sings on "The Secret Tale of the Cuckoo Bird," name-checking a small town (otherwise best known for having a leather jacket warehouse) just outside of Brampton, where he was raised. From Acton we travel to Zambia for "Penis Suitcase," on which we learn about super disturbing funeral arrangements for royalty that really, really don't benefit anybody else. Rich sings it all on an epic scale, adopting an operatic affectation when not screaming his head off. Bountiful is so dark yet so uplifting; the only cure for this headache is to smile. (Pumpkin Pie)