Quinn Walker Laughter's An Asshole/Lion Land

Not even the antler-sporting, Technicolor fire-breathing hippie woodsman Jesus head on the cover of this double album package can prepare you for the ridiculous wonder of Quinn Walker’s lusciously imaginative world. Laughter’s An Asshole is the most logical introduction, easing the listener in with an innocent country dirge enhanced by low buzzing synth and a steadily increasing array of mutated guitar, accordion and keys. It’s the musical equivalent of the Flaming Lips and Wilco trading shots of wine and moonshine while considering the merits of munching mescaline. Playful freak-folk elements of the Animal Collective persuasion abound, but one-man-band Quinn’s Laughter is decidedly more demented. The bold and beautiful psychosis hinted at, but kept in check, on the first disc is unleashed immediately with Lion Land opener "Capital Punishment,” a freakish arrangement of processed vocal harmonies and pulsing drums. Both albums are rife with wildly creative metaphors and brilliantly experimental arrangements that retain many classical and popular musical sensibilities but delight in deliberately mucking with convention. Some may fault Walker for indulging to the utmost in his personal vision, but such is the way of brave and extraordinary artists. (Voodoo Eros)