(Orange Milk, 2015)
If Larry Wish was aiming to be the warmup act for Stingray Sam in an out-of-the-way bar on near-future Mars, he could do a lot worse. He may not have the Billy Nayer Show backing him, but he certainly has the vibe down, and his singing voice can only be imagined coming from the mouth of a preposterous space lizard. It’s deep, warbles in almost every place it can, and is almost certainly altered by some type of effect. It sounds like Ween, but way more seasick than usual. In fact, I might be ready to throw up and I’m barely halfway through the tape.
But so flipping what! I have a predilection toward motion sickness, so I’m not the best judge of the throwing up stuff. I’ll finish that train of thought by saying this – the music on Born Outside My Window is so interesting and weird that I was able to keep down my breakfast out of sheer curiousity. I needed to finish the tape, dagnabbit! I wanted to see where Larry Wish went with his crazy tunes.
For those who like their information spoonfed directly into their expectant yawning maws: Larry Wish squirrels around the prog-disco plain, harnessing ice cream comets with his patch-cord lasso and riding em straight to the heart of a gamma burst. I said Ween before and I wasn’t lying, because Ween does every genre ever, and often with altered vocals. Larry Wish isn’t as gratuitious as Ween and tends to stick to one thing, and although he clearly has fun with his chosen genre, he may actually, indeed, be a bit serious about it. See, this dude’s compositions are nowhere near conventional, his epic takes on multiversal pop totally backward from our side of the dimensional rift. And that’s where he shines – the chord progressions, runs, breakdowns, none reminiscent of those found in our world. He even does a take on Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” pulling it off like Har Mar Superstar after an intense night of heavy drinking and hallucinogen use.
But it’s the extended prog workouts where he really shines, even though the condensed concoctions like “Once Again Again” and “Happy Cry Boy Also, Too” (great titles) go nowhere you’d expect in their shorter runtimes. “Difference Star” is the first example of this, and also the best, almost twelve minutes of anti-King Crimson King Crimson worship. “Looking for Chaptermin_Chaptermin” is Yes on downers, then mushrooms, then coffee. And what prog-worshipping maestro would complete an album without a Pink Floyd nod, as Wish does on “Extra Dangerous Fearing,” closing out the album (with apologies to the thirty-second “Phony Oko Ono” which isn’t really a song at all)? Not one that doesn’t take himself seriously, that’s for sure.
What I have to say in the end is that once you acclimate yourself as a listener to the shifting landscape and gravity of the music, the better off you’ll be, and the more grounded your experience with this album will become. That’s a good thing. It’s also a good thing if you feel completely untethered while listening, not knowing which way is up or if you’ll crash land on some distant terrain like Mars; and of course, Larry Wish may be giving us Earth-dwellers the best welcome we’ll ever receive there (“Welcome to life among the stars, welcome to hotels and restaurants and bars” – right Stingray?). If that is how our future shakes out, we can thank ol’ Larry for making it happen, whichever dimension he ends up being from.
RIYL: Man Made Hill, Ween, Dylan Ettinger, my friend Leeman pretending to be a singer