Downtown Brown's favorite fantasy burger would have to be the one laced with household chemicals, because for all of the fast-food fetishism on I Love Burgers, its latest, what this album really does is foam at the mouth. The Detroit quartet's manic chord changes and stylistic switch-ups blister and pop like shrink wrap held to the flame of a Bic, and vocalist-guitarist Neil Patterson sounds like he's impersonating every character on Adult Swim's Metalocalypse simultaneously. The band traffics mostly in one-dimensional funk (that means lots of talented but wank-y flurries of bass guitar), hyper 1980s thrash-metal resets and allusions to Fishbone that more accurately recall trashy third-wave ska. All of this congeals unevenly into a bright plastic butt groove for crass humor ("Gotta Potty") and ADD tributes to the glorious stupidity of the male animal.
But there's nothing wrong with any of that, because Burgers is a business card designed to advertise the aggravated, romping pace of Downtown Brown's live show, where the mess that is "Manthem" on record undoubtedly has room to breathe. The band's humor is as blatant and proud as a class clown farting in church, the acknowledged subtext being, "If you don't like us, fuck off," and, besides, Burgers is too brief to be an album barring the repetitive humor of the intro and "I Found U," it only includes six real songs. But in that brief stretch Downtown Brown finds a way to sell its foamy hysterics (that is, if you're buying), and even gets off one great song in "Back on the Team," a mini rock opera that lays the People's Elbow smartly on jock mentality in America.
Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].