One Track Mind: Laughing Soup Dish, “Teenage Lima Bean” (1985)

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A New Jersey band, Laughing Soup Dish came together in 1981 and participated in the small but fiercely fanatic psychedelic garage rock movement of the decade. The band’s first single, “Teenage Lima Bean” (VOXX Records) is so bloody bizarre that, even by this song’s admittedly liberal-minded genre’s standards, it evokes dumbfounded reactions.

Warm and sleepy vocals pinned against surf rock arrangements set the pace of the art-damaged delight before blowing up into a full-fledged freakout. Largely a free-form instrumental, “Teenage Lima Bean” creaks, crawls and curves to a carousel of cracked rhythms, wandering melodies, brain-numbing drumming, backwards guitars and glass-shattering sound effects. Imagine Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive” playing peek-a-boo with Grateful Dead, Mystic Tide, Beach Boys and Strawberry Alarm Clock samples, and that tells you exactly where Laughing Soup Dish’s heads and hearts were at.

In an era ruled by the synthesized dance pop of Michael Jackson and Madonna, not to mention the manly blue collar rock of Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp, “Teenage Lima Bean” never stood a chance at making the top forty charts. But that was obviously not the point to begin with.

Stealing every trick in the psychedelic handbook, then adding their own trippy and dippy doodles to the page, Laughing Soup Dish conceived a bout of brilliance with this madcap missive. The band also released a pair of albums, We Are The Dish and Underthrow The Overground that continued to promote their silly and surrealistic visions.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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