LUMPS “Curses!” (King Pizza)

“Curses!” I repeat after looking at the cover of this swell little tape out of the thriving garage/punk/pop scene percolating in Brooklyn, which is as obvious as it is sort of stupid to even mention at this point in time. You say “Brooklyn,” you think of bands like Lumps, having great times, releasing music on King Pizza Records. I was young once. I understand. I turn to the gigantic bird that has just landed on my shoulder (is that an Andean condor?) and wonder aloud whether the music of Lumps would be eminently enjoyable to the younger me. It leans its head close and concurs in a series of exhalations rasping from its throat. (It’s not going to screech in my ear, it’s my friend.) It reminds me that we’re all in a cartoon, and that Lumps and King Pizza are just extensions of things like Archie comics and Scooby Doo and other Hanna-Barbera constructions. I look again at the (admittedly very cool) comic book art of the cover and realize that it’s real life, not a comic book, and the condor is right, my half-assed ruminations on Brooklyn and stereotypes of the people who live there have brought a sort of storybook-within-myself to life, and comic art and real life have converged. I stare now at the photorealistic image that graces the cover of Curses!, and I begin to feel terrified as understanding dawns that these are real creatures and that is a real person in bed who is being menaced by them. Each side is a curse, “Curse 1” and “Curse 2,” and each curse animates a subset of these vile creatures. There is a 5.5 song-per-curse ratio, and each one is a reminder of the cartoon chaos, the overdriven guitars a testament to Halloween horror and sugar-rush fun. Oh, I say to the condor, those real creatures menacing that real person are sort of lovable in a hell-has-come-for-us-on-Earth sort of way. I wonder if rock and roll has affected them with its communal spirit. The condor looks at me, great eyes boring into my very soul, and silently waits with me in its mesmerizing gaze. I am frozen as a thousand years pass by in a second while under the great bird’s spell. Real life dissolves and becomes a cartoon again. I’m a cartoon. Again? I’ll never really know. Curses indeed.

--Ryan Masteller