March 9th marks the release of Kirby Krackles’ sophomore album, “E for Everyone”. I got my copy this past weekend and I think I’ve already worn it out! I’ve been a fan of filk and genre embracing geek rock for some time and I’ve seen a number of geek music acts put out some great tunes, but what makes Kirby Krackle stand out for me is their smart lyric writing and the production value behind their music. And you know that when the CD cover features drumsticks as Wolverine claws and a GL ring created guitar that this CD’s going to be a treat.
Kirby Krackle just plain sounds great, and they aren’t making fad songs to play off of our interests to sell some cd’s at cons – they make music inspired by the things we love because each one of these guys is one of us and they love the same stuff we do.
“E for Everyone” kicks off with the energetic “Vault 101”, an ode to “Fallout 3”, one of the greatest video games of the past few years. I don’t know how many hours I spent last year wandering the Wastleland in search of bottle caps and blasting mutants and this first track captures some of that experience we had venturing out from that vault with our trusty PipBoy on our arm. The song captures the player’s need to believe that, despite the world gone to hell in a handbasket landscape, there’s hope out there somewhere for a better tomorrow. As the chorus goes, “And in a world gone mad I’ve got to believe…there’s something better.”
The CD’s second track is a great “day in the life” look at the world from Wolverine’s point of view. From fighting in the Savage Land, dealing with the Hand and the Wrecking Crew, this song really shows the band’s understanding of the character. And for those people like myself who ordered the CD, the included booklet of lyrics cleverly takes Wolvie’s signature claws into account. The song rocks and the lyrics give us a glimpse into the character and how some of his life experiences may affect him more than what he reveals to the world around him.
“Secret Identity” is a fun look at what the life of a superhero inside of all of us and how we’d all like to don costumes and kick ass at the end of the week…. after we mow the lawn and trim the hedges of course! This is a great song that could easily be used in a film like “Kick Ass” with a lot of pop flair.
“Roll Over” is a fast-paced bombardment of pop culture references shouting out to everything from the Thundercats to the Smurfs to Skrulls. It’s a fun play on the “Roll Over” song I remember singing to with my son when he was little, with some great riffs and a rap interlude that kicks it hard. I’ll admit that I questioned my geek cred when I didn’t get all the references in the song!
The fifth track, “Henchman”, is a rocking light-hearted look into the interview of an aspiring henchman. From balancing accomplishments (“I fired lasers from a sub / one year I blew a whole bridge up”) to inquiring as to the retirement fund options and health plan, our singer’s point of view of someone who has risen up the ranks from “peon to goon” mirrors the same type of nervous “need a job” interviews we’ve all had with a delightful villains’ slant.
“Ring Capacity” is the song that helped me discover Kirby Krackle. A single that I missed out on when it was sent out for free last summer, “Ring Capacity” is a hard-rocking song that puts you in Hal Jordan’s head as he encounters Sinestro in deep space. The clever chorus counts up and down the charge level of Hal’s ring as he deals with his greatest foe. I’ve got a small collection of Green Lantern themed songs and “Ring Capacity” easily knocks J-Sin Stars’s “Green Lantern: Hal Jordan” track of the top of the stack for the title of best Green Lantern inspired song. I really hope that this track makes its way to the new Rock Band network and it would be amazing if this track somehow found its way into the soundtrack of the upcoming Green Lantern movie.
Check out the band’s live performance of the song:
“Can I Watch You?” is a funky look at the Watcher. How can you beat a lyric like “You love my baby head / And my piercing white eyes / So say if you want to / You can call me Uatu”? Not even possible! Pure gold! And who knew he could make zucchini souffle?
Of all the songs on the disk “Take it from me” was the only song that didn’t grab me. And that’s not a knock on the song at all – it’s a good rocker. I just missed the Mega Man bandwagon by a few years so the references are completely lost on me. Again – that’s nothing against the song, it just doesn’t resonate for me personally.
“Great Lakes Avengers” demonstrates the band’s ability to write a clever lyric about a guy with pretty pathetic powers and his attempts to get into a good super team, but alas he’s too lame to be considered by anyone but the GLA. Turned down by everyone from the Fantastic Four to the Green Lantern Corps to the Justice League, and not willing to join the likes of the Doom Patrol, Alpha Flight, the JSA or the Birds of Prey (“you’re a dude!”) our protagonist finally decides that the GLA might be right for him after all.
Every CD has to have a ballad or two, and “Dusty Cartridges & Long Boxes” is the love song between two geeks sharing their common interests. The song has kind of a Kenny Loggins / James Taylor vibe to it. And what girl geek wouldn’t swoon at a lyrical line like “CGC say 9.3 but you’re a 10 to me..like Bo Derek.” It reminds me personally of years ago before my wife and I were married, two young naive Star Trek geeks spending every moment surrounded by memorabilia and other fans, reveling in our geekiness while falling in love.
“E for Everyone” ends with “Going Home” – a song which should become the anthem for everyone making the pilgrimage to a con where you’ve crammed your vehicle beyond capacity, of course never realizing that you’ll be bringing home more stuff than you left with and have to leave stuff behind. You and your bud’s hit the road, Root Beer and Twinkies stuffed in a cooler as you hit the road for mecca. This song captures the fan experience like no other and deserves a music video to set it off – in fact G4 needs to use this in their Comic-Con coverage this year – you hear that Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn!?
“E for Everyone” will be available by various digital download stores, but you can also order the CD directly from the band. It’s worth a couple of extra bucks to get the art and lyric book – and this is a band worthy of our support. If you find yourself becoming a Kracklehead like I have you’ll also want to seek out their first CD that’s also filled with great music any geek would want on their MP3 player.
Ten out of ten lanterns.