Alice Donut – Bucketfuls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life (1989)
There is a strong possibility that you will absolutely hate this album. I have several Alice Donut records, and I’m not really sure why- a lot of them aren’t that great, though I enjoy at least a few songs on each of them, and their singer (Tomas Antona) has one of the most irritating voices of all time- he either sounds like he’s made of rubber and the record is playing at 45 instead of 33, or he does this really grating low, creepy, overly fake redneck sort of thing.
However, for some reason, I really like Bucketfuls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life the whole way through.
Not only does Bucketfuls have a title that’s really fun to say (three albums later, Alice Donut would also release The Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children), but goddamn if the choruses aren’t equally as catchy in a melodic punk rock sort of way, which is funny, because a lot of the music surrounding them sounds like an ugly (but coordinated) mess. According to numerous (at least two) Allmusic commentaries, Alice Donut was constantly compared to Jane’s Addiction, which makes very little sense to me, annoying voices aside, but maybe you can hear a similarity. What I do know is that the mood of these songs is really goofy and creepy at the same time, with plenty of (again) punk rock influence- this was an Alternative Tentacles release- but a bunch of psychedelic and vaguely (alternative) metal influences thrown in at once.
It’s hard to tell how serious almost all of the songs are- topics include weird fetishes, Southern priests, the singer being pissed off that someone gave birth to him, having your life be a mediocre piece of shit (“My Life is a Mediocre Piece of Shit”), grocery store lines, and occasional nonsense. A few of the songs have somewhat of a serious message, one of which is a minute and a half complaint about being disappointed in Sinead O’Connor sung by the bass player in a stuffy grunge voice, and one of which, though not without gross humor, is essentially about a woman getting addicted to drugs and having a fascist baby! After typing that out, that one seems like a joke too, but Mr. Antona sounds so damn concerned!
Up to this point, I feel that I have fairly laid out how questionable of a recommendation this album actually is, and it’s not going to stop. I mentioned how “ugly” a lot of the music is, but failed to say why. It’s hard to describe, but I’m pretty sure a lot of it involves several guitars (three, I think), playing chords that don’t quite go together- “Lydia’s Black Lung” opens the album with a riff that sounds like one of the guitar players in a funk-metal band is playing in the wrong key, ruining the whole funk aspect for everyone else (thankfully). That sort of thing happens in quite a few of the songs, though it’s never extreme- none of it sounds like Trout Mask Replica or anything, but it makes it sound like the guitars are covered in mud. In 100% of the cases (except for “Demonologist,” which kind of sucks) this eventually builds to either some incredibly pleasing and creative guitar interplay (done with a drunken slide guitar on “Bucket, Forks, Pock”) or choruses that are simply catchy and sing-alongable (<– not a word) as hell- seriously, the chorus to “Sky of Bones” is “Wake up, you’re next/Silence is death,” and it sounds WAY less stupid than it does on paper (or any other format), just because of the pleasing, a-few-harmonies-short-of-pop-punk melody.
So, there you go, I just spent a bunch of time telling you why you shouldn’t like this album. Try it out though, I swear at least one person who downloads it will find some aspect of it enjoyable, but if not, buy a physical copy- there are a bunch of childish dick-n-boob drawings on the lyrics insert.
Download the non-LP version here, which includes a really tasteless interpretation of a Chick Tract called “Lisa’s Father (Waka Baby)”: