When aliens survey the monuments of human culture, one monolith should tower above the rest: “Tales From Wreck Deck” by Big Dik Blak. This opus from “Canada’s Prolific Rock Legend”, as he is rightfully heralded in his press release, after only brief listening indeed begins to challenge the human brain’s ability to process recorded sound. Frankly, we should all appreciate that Big Dik Blak exists, and that he has gifted us what is perhaps the most comprehensively baffling album in recorded history. This is an album so utterly illogical that it is difficult to fully comprehend. An album in which seemingly every possible decision made at every possible stage was nonsensical. An album against which a conventional ratings system, and indeed life itself, becomes meaningless.
“Satellite Gurl”, the album’s opener, adroitly sets the tone. Against a meat-and-potatoes rock backing, Big Dik Black blesses us with the slurred, bellowed cadences of a tramp toppling into a shallow stream, each verse of which is followed by an indeterminate, under-mixed organ solo. With dogged, almost heroic insistence, Big Dik Blak assures us that some presumably embarrassed woman is his satellite gurl for 7 minutes and 59 seconds, all of which is felt by the listener. “One more time!” he yells, at which point the song abruptly ends. This is uncanny-valley rock, in which the clichés are mirrored with such superficial similarity yet subtle wrongness that the overall impression is one of creeping unease, as if Eric Andre decided to make a rock album.
On “Claudette”, Blak’s vocal style unexpectedly morphs from “Patrick Star hollering into septic tank” to “Jim Morrison after cerebral aneurism” as he recounts the tale of the titular, painfully fictional femme fatale over stiltedly artificial accordion backing. “Remember That Night” sees him try his hand at country, complete with wheezing harmonica and comical bass vocals. On “I’ve Got a Boyfriend”, the music startlingly transforms into ‘90s Euro-House, right down to the sampled female soul vocals, as if Big Dik Blak is repeatedly pressing the “Sound Effect” button on a keyboard from 2005. He delicately states his political goals on “World Peace and Free Love”.
The album is perhaps best encapsulated in the gruff Barry-White-read-by-Nicolas-Cage ramblings of closer “Butterfly”, which truly must be heard to be believed, but for which text does reasonable justice: “Sweet makin’ love all night long… oh yaaah… you know what I mean… you look at me with those big brown eyes… you say “Oh daddy, can I come again?”… I say, “Well, I’m pretty tired [throaty laughter] but I think you can… I know… you’re so niiice… you’re so lovely… such a loving woman… I want you so bad, all night long…” At this point, the album has transcended simply being bad. It has even transcended parody. We now exist on another plain of post-ironic sincerity. For this reason it would feel untoward to offer it a conventional ranking. It is years ahead of us all. CO
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