The Devil Went Down to Newport (Totally Rocking) (Rykodisc 1051)
An absolute piece of shit through and through, this EP by Mono Puff (They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh's side project) is as bad as it is boring, and aside from having no good songs, isn't remotely interesting either.
So why did I buy it? I've been asking myself that question for three years. All I can say is it was a compulsive moment and my faith in They Might Be Giants led me to believe that this would be a fun little EP.
In fact there's not much good I can say about it. The title track (bafflingly picked as the single for the equally dumb Unsupervised album) is horseshit, a cover of an obscure east coast rock song that finds Flans very much in "I'm a rock star" mode, and lending much credence to the idea that TMBG is all the worse for his input. For further confirmation, check out the John Linnell solo record.
Track two is a cover of Frank Black's "Oddball" (from the Headache EP), basically Flans doing a Flank Black impression, blandly (sort of like that cover of Ani Difranco's "32 Flavors" that came out a few years back too polished to be cool, too tame to be good).
Then there's "Tryptophane," basically Flans trying to write like Linnell, unmemorably. Contains some early-Giants-esque annoying moments, but overall it's easily the best track on the album.
Last track is a remade version of "Newport" which is slower, aiming for a dancey feel, but it's just as bad as the other version, owing to the fact that the song is shit.
Yuck. I think this is the third time I've listened to this disc I played it twice when I got it, the second time to confirm it was bad. Now, a third time to review it. I'll have to make sure that never happens again. I hope the used CD place I go to will take it back. Fucking awful christ shit. If by some miracle they do take it back, and you see it there, don't buy it, for any reason.
Review by David Pea