The Trike Shop, Mad Pop Inventions (Whisper-Ma-phone Records 1997) - Let's give a tip of the hat to our very own, Trike Shop. Headed by Blake Jones (the band's singer, songwriter, and guitarist), Mad Pop Inventions features the "soundtrack" to the musical opera, "Fresno - A Musical with No Direction"). And if you live here, you already get the joke.
Mad Pop Inventions is the 13th album from Blake Jones and his various bands, and includes Mike Scott on guitar, bass and backing vocals, Doc Morse on guitar and bass, and newcomer Don Ockey on drums. Also appearing are Rob, Andrea, and Connor Darby (who provides vocals and supplies instruments at the live shows).
Doc Morse describes Mad Pop Inventions as, "It's kind of like Frank Zappa meets Paul McCartney - weird, yet accessible."
That's a fair assessment. The album has plenty of pop and rock groves, mixed with the Central Valley absurdity that is reflected in Cake. The album also has blues elements, and a bit of Brian Wilson.
Thus, the 14 tracks include "Even Van Helsing," a bouncy number with xylophones, "Hey, Hey Light Rail," and "Our Pile of Bones."
While the disc has plenty of references to Fresno (including the Fulton Mall, Wonderland Swimming Pool, and Kearney Bowl), it's catchy enough to reach a broader audience.
Also included is "On Christmas Tree Lane," and the album's strongest cut, "Too Mayonnaisey," which is a gentle swipe at our sprawling 'burg - "All of the places that had once defined my home/Have been wiped clean . . . And someone's spread this so thick on my hometown/Like Gertrude Stein said, 'There's no there there.'"
Jones wants a better Fresno, and says, "I want to hear people say things that they are proud of here in Fresno. I want us to make a town we are proud of - livable, interesting in its own right."
Mad Pop Inventions captures the spirit of the Central Valley at the end of the 20th century - a bit short on self-esteem, but ready for the developers and more subdivisions.
For more information, contact:
- Randy Krbechek © 1998