I’m just going to put a post in the ground right here as a marker because I believe that Joe De Vita has managed to find one of the farthest acceptable borders of what I’ll consider reviewing here at Hypnagogue–and I like it. The Antihero is a noisy jazz/funk/rock/spoken word concept album ostensibly about a guy out to save the world even though he isn’t actually a hero and is “probably eating a cheeseburger right now and talking on his cell phone.” You with me so far? DeVita’s clearly taking a big dip in Zappa’s pool here, from the pitch-shifted voice work during the “Intermission” cuts to the sweet 70’s funk rhythm lines and complex structures. And then there’s the way he just power-sands your face off with high-caliber guitar riffs, cutting loose with fiery, distorted solos on “Infiltrating Snuff Boy’s Chicken House” (complete with weird synthesizer clucks) and “The Angry Crab,” then proceeds to crank out some soulful, bluesy wails on “A Letter from Purple Hazel,” which closes out the disc. He also offers up some catchy, straightforward jazz playing on “The Anti-Hero Theme Song” and hits us with simple acoustic guitar over church-choir voices and soft pads in “Infomercial.” On that track his own voice takes on a tone like a wispy and slightly unsteady John Lennon. And for good measure, there’s a dose of glitchy electronica powering “Mutnik Goes House Hunting.” Because, you know, DeVita hadn’t gone there yet. Could I do without tracks like minute-long spoken piece “Angry Customer” and the odd break that is “Dick Aerobics”? Indeed I could. But as slots in DeVita’s twisted vision of his story, they have their place, and the rest of the disc is so strong and enjoyable that, after initial listens, those bits are skippable. The Antihero is a funny album in a “what’s coming next?” kind of way. DeVita’s twisted humor works just as well as his guitar chops. This is not a disc that’s going to appeal to everyone–which may very well be DeVita’s intent. It’s a unique album that again showcases the jazz-fueled madness of Joe Devita’s musical world.
Available from CD Baby.