Chris Connelly – Phenobarb Bambalam (1992): Half Notes

Share this:

Chris Connelly, coming off key contributions to a pair of recordings by Al Jourgensen’s Ministry, neatly sidestepped the dreaded “industrial” tag here with simple musicianship (not to mention a dead-on Bowie vocal turn). Still can’t be sure how he made time for Phenobarb Bambalam, considering he was also touring and writing as a member of Pigface, Murder Inc. and Revco. That made his mostly melodious fourth solo outing all the more worthy of note.

Even at its most aggressive (“July,” “Dirtbox Tennessee”), this is loud but never desultory. Better still, not until “Ignition Times Four,” the eighth track, does Connelly indulge in a little of the old Wax Trax! razzmatazz — that is, a loud drum machine and the kind of overdubs they play in movies right before somebody drops the bomb. More often, Phenobarb gave a sometimes samey “alternative” scene a needed nudge toward old-fashioned piano and guitar structure. This side of Connelly, far from shaming his other work, made it all the more compelling.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B000003RFL” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
Share this:
Close