Neil Hamburger Still Dwelling
Published Nov 13, 2018Still Dwelling is the musical equivalent of sitting in a karaoke bar watching a drunk man howl into the microphone with utter disdain and venom. Why? On this LP, anti-comedian and Adult Swim star Gregg Turkington dishes out another set of standards as his doppelganger, Neil Hamburger.
These covers are reflective of Turkington's character: misanthropic and intentionally unfunny. Instrumentally, the album, arranged by Erik Paparozzi, sounds as if the Beach Boys' back catalogue was fossilized under a desertscape and discovered centuries later by a post-apocalyptic society. Upon discovery, the only means of playback is through scratching the charred matter with flints, while filtering the audio through a rusty sewage pipe.
As indistinct as each track's production is Neil's voice. His nasal croon oscillates between two binary states: quiet and loud. There are some exceptions; the version of the Lennon-McCartney penned song "World Without Love" manages to balance both melancholy and self-affirmation. Meanwhile, a Bruce Dickinson-esque appearance from fellow comedian-musician Jack Black, as well as contributions Faith No More's Mike Patton, on "Everything's Alright," assure that this cut resembles something close to dynamic.
Given Turkington's brand of humour, this album's sheer crassness might be a great for some. Even so, the question remains as to whether the joke, and the alter-ego, is enough to sustain an oppressive listening period. Anti-humour can create characters with some sense of backstory and depth — think Dr. Steve Brule. Hamburger has as much depth as the dregs at the bottom of a beer glass. (Drag City)