Joe Jack Talcum at Whisperin and Hollerin

This album is the second instalment in the home recordings of Joe Jack Talcum who used to be the singer in The Dead Milkmen: a band I have a vague memory of having seen live once a long time ago.

In the old days this album would have been on cassette with a Xerox cover rather than on vinyl with a painting of the Tascam recorder much of it was produced on as cover art painted by Joe Jack Talcum. So this really is for Dead Milkmen completists wherever they are hiding.

As expected, for an album of home recordings, it’s pretty lo-fi from the opener One False Move. This track is a sort of plea for redemption on an acoustic guitar and it has the best reworking of an advert tagline I’ve heard in a while when he sings “Guinness Is Good for you, one false move and you’re dead.” It’s a pretty cool little tune.

Talk has more “Blah Blah Blah’s” than on all the posters for the Iggy Pop album of that name, but it also has the feeling of being about the arguments at the end of a relationship as it’s getting real messy before out of nowhere comes a guitar break that is all Pale Blue Eyes-ish. It’s a compelling little song. Madonna’s Weep has Joe Jack pleading for the love of a woman who would rather go shopping than love him and it’s a tender plea.

Go is a rumination as to why he is still with this woman who hates him when she used to love him and the realization it’s time to go arrives over some incredibly hiss covered organ. Call Me A Fool is a very clever song with a twist. At first, I thought he was playing the spurned lover, all downbeat and wronged, then the song suddenly reveals itself to be about a stolen car before descending into loads of hissing tape noises as his pride and joy speeds away.

Sense Of Humour is a cool lo-fi song about losing it all, including your sense of humour. Side one ends with Sweet And Sour: a fizzing instrumental, seemingly about calling for a take-out but with a great angry, angst-y guitar opening that sounds like it would be a great tune to start a gig with.

The B-side opens with Another Time; a sparse song of yearning at 3am when he’s lost in a reverie and trying to sound like a 1990’s Nick Drake but is too skewed to be that dead on. The brilliantly-titled The Sun Shines Out Of My Asshole has a real Vaselines-type feel to it as he declaims his lot as a super-giant man. This one is crying out to be played live.

Cup Of Tea is a good lo-fi Robert Pollard-ish paean to a good ole cuppa rosy lea. Be My Property is an odd plea to his paramour to, er, be his property which is fine if you’re chasing a mail order bride but not so fine if it’s a normal woman. Still it’s a pretty cool indie clatterer.

Forever Expanding Dream is the slightest, most barely-there song on the album. It’s almost comatose it’s so slight but then maybe that’s when the drugs kick in and his mind really expands. Which leads us to I’m Not Here: a song about taking loads of pills and what happens in the aftermath.

The album closes with the most Dead Milkmen-esque song, Another Disgusting Pop Punk Song that sounds like it’s aimed at Green Day and their ilk. It’s a great piss-take that is just a little too ramshackle to pull off the trick it attempts but I’d love to hear a finished and fully produced version of it and that is the case with many of the songs here.

All in a pretty cool album of lo-fi demos that can be found here: HHBTM Recordings online

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