Picks and Pans Review: A Cow Come True

updated 02/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Swamp Thing

At a time when so many bands act as if nothing on earth mattered more than a good haircut and an expensive synthesizer, it's great to see that some rockers still know how to take themselves lightly. Swamp Thing makes music with all the energy and immaturity of a fraternity variety show. Sure, the four band members could have produced a better second album if someone had forced them to cut a few of the dumber songs. But a complete lack of inhibition also gives appeal to lyrics that are delivered in tones ranging from screams to doo-wop. Formed in Madison, Wis., Swamp Thing knows how to give a unique twist to off-color material. The hilarious Surgery on Himself, for instance, reveals the extreme danger of being too self-sufficient. Without a single obscene word or direct reference to sex, Do You Remember gives a very graphic account of erotic stimulation. Musically the Swamps switch from pseudopunk to pseudofunk with competence. But Mackerel Nose, a Kafkaesque song about a man who affixes a fish to his proboscis, gives a metaphorical hint that this band doesn't plan to abandon the jokes: "Now I'm the man with a fish on his face/ I could take it off and not leave a trace/ Then you'd never know that I was the one/ Who smelled so bad and had so much fun." (Flaming Pie, P.O. Box 1096, Cooper Station, New York, N.Y. 10276)

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