So… who wants to hear an album filled with homemade instruments, oddball circular rhythms, and a guy who plays drums with his feet while his hands give a piano a workout? As your prize for answering, “Meeeeeeeee!” I will now tell you all about “Once Around the Butterfly Bush,” the latest Edgetone Records release from Eddie the Rat.
First off, lets get this whole foot/hands thing out of the way, because its very cool. I have to admit, my inital once-over of the liner notes totally missed this startling bit of information, so I was really curious– the recording didn’t sound as if there was much in the way of overdubbing, but there were obviously a few too many instruments for a quartet. While digging on the unique, circular phrases and out-of-kilter rhythms, I envisioned a very busy room with performers hurrying about, dropping one instrument to pick up another. It was a fun idea, something like a deleted scene from an avant-garde version of “Help!”
Anyways, yeah. I was totally wrong, but luckily, reality was equally cool. Peter Martin, the original sole member of “The Rat” (for short, why not?) plays piano with his hands, cajon with the left foot, and bass drum with the right. And before you get on my case about not having seen the large photo inside the album CLEARLY SHOWING this, allow me to feign temporary blindness due to the SUPER-AMAZING homemade instrument on stage left– some sort of upright box with perpendicular rows of giant nails– which has to be the “Spike” listed in the credits. This thing is incredible to see, so be careful, or you may become temporarily blind as well.
This is an exciting album, wild in parts, and simple in others. It has a genuine “otherness” that cannot be faked. In parts, I found myself reminded of Einsturzende Neubauten and the Art Bears– but I would be remiss to leave you thinking of this as a derivative album in any way.
Of course, I truly hope you’ll get yourself over to Edgetone Records and find a copy for yourself. But if its a few days until payday, you might also tide yourself over with a couple free Eddie the Rat albums (“Lip-Synching at Zero Gavity“, and “Drop Me Off in Denpasar“) from Comfort Stand Recordings. If that’s not further evidence of a cool band, I don’t know what is.