Arrogant Worms,
Idiot Road
(self-produced, 2001)

The Arrogant Worms owe me a slim slice of sanity.

Oh sure, the lovable, whimsical band of merry minstrels have produced yet another album of laughter-inducing songs. Certainly, Idiot Road has enough memorable songs and clever lyrics to guarantee repeated playings. Yes, damn it, the CD is a winner, full of great stuff that would earn the Canadian band many new friends in the States if only American distributors would catch on and put them on the shelves.

But I defy anyone to drive four hours round-trip to Levittown with a pair of hyperactive kids in the back seat clamoring every few minutes for "Baby Poo" without seeing a few hairs turn grey.

"Baby Poo" is the anthem for new parents everywhere, people who once were able to participate in intelligent conversations on diverse topics -- until the arrival of a darling child derailed every train of thought and reduced all other considerations to a contemplation of the baby's digestive tract. This lovely topic is usually avoided in polite company, but the Worms have brought it out into the sunlight for all to see, joyfully set to a catchy tune. It's hard to get out of your head after hearing it once, much less a few dozen times.

No, don't worry, the rest of the album has nothing to do with poop.

Occasionally, I was able to distract the young urchins with "Billy the Theme Park Shark," a delightful ditty about a relentless killer of the deep who becomes an unwitting entertainer, and "I Ran Away," a musical treatise on the merits of cowardice.

Other highlights of the album (and, yes, grey hairs aside, I do love the thing) include "We Are the Beaver," an anthem holding Canada's national beastie up to comparison with the American eagle, the Russian bear and other international symbols; "Trichinosis," which deals with a troubling digestive ailment; "Stalker Girl," about one of the downsides of fame; and "Drink With Me," a pugnacious celebration of alcohol, related vomit issues and a bit of unapologetic self-marketing tactics. The title track exposes the horrors of driving where stupid people prowl the roads. A CD bonus track, "Mrs. Catto Loves Her Budgie," is just plain weird.

OK, if this hasn't inspired you to go to herculean efforts to track down your own copy of the latest Arrogant Worms release, I don't know what will. Take my word for it, these guys are a talented bunch of musical nuts whose songs will get stuck in your head. Who knows, you might even find yourself reaching for the "repeat" button for just one more spin through "Baby Poo."

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 23 February 2002

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