All music tells a story, but concept albums have the ability to take the storytelling element to the next level. Making a Fool of Myself is the latest release from Rubber Band Gun—the solo project of Foxygen touring guitarist, Kevin Basko. In this EP we are treated to a wild story about a local news station and the complicated lives of the news team. It’s zany and out there and also a lot of fun.
The cast of characters is as follows: Mentally unstable weatherman, Horace A. Hobart; his nemesis, anchorman Redd Reno; and chronic gambler/sportscaster Carol Fellington. The five song EP details one fateful day at the station when Horace decides to exact revenge on his cruel coworkers. What a time!
The first track, “Hurricane Horace” is the exposition. Horace is gearing up for what he deems will be “the night he’s remembered for.” The vocals are distorted so it’s hard to catch how eerie the lyrics are. The beat is quick and manic-sounding and it’s clear that this will not be a regular day at work for our crew.
“Redd Reno: The Hourly Update” is three minutes and twenty seconds of a strange, ambling manifesto. While it’s unclear what is meant by the lines, “life is sour and doesn’t wait for you to be in heat/you can’t sit on an egg and hope to shit gold,” it is clear that Redd Reno is a bully. The song picks up a Motown kind of beat at the end as Reno is heard hassling Horace. A helpful story guide provided on the album’s bandcamp page gives a description of Reno as “the alpha and the beta and occasionally the gamma before he gets his coffee.” In case that clears anything up for you.
Next up in this vignette is “Carol Fellington with the Sports.” Carol has got her own laundry list of issues. She’s sleeping in her office, gambling away all of her savings and day-drinking at work while her show is losing ratings! This song has a unique quality in that you could either cut a rug to the groovy beat, or spend half an hour with your discussion session doing a close reading of the lyrics (totally up to you, but I’d go with dancing).
Things were already precarious for our friends at Channel 17, but they take a turn for the worse in “Professional Confessional.” Horace finally snaps and over heavy reverb and distortion, the line, “light two bottles full of gasoline and toss them inside by the coffee machine” can be heard. The song devolves into the repetition of the title of the album accompanied by what we can assume is Horace ranting and raving. “Professional Confessional” is the longest track with the heaviest plot, but it also reads like a psychedelic rock song and it doesn’t come off as too overwhelming—maybe just overwhelming enough. I mean, we’re talking about a violent mental breakdown, so some gravity is expected.
The EP finishes up with “The End of the Mock”—an instrumental track that balances out the lyric-heavy tune preceding it. All albums have some sort of thematic overtones, but what makes concept albums like Making a Fool of Myself really interesting is that they are able to tell a really specific narrative with the addition of a music accompaniment. While this idea is definitely not new, the musical story of the Channel 17 news team is trippy and entertaining.