Move over, Sgt. Pepper
Brooklyn owes the charmer under me. And if not, then the city has one hell of an all out rock and roll experience in the band known as PFFR. Some would label them punk. Others might brand them as a novelty act. And while the group certainly has its own DIY ethic with 10 insanely humorous songs on Rock Rocker Rocketh, PFFR aren’t about angst and they most certainly aren’t the next Weird Al Yankovic. It might be hard to peg exactly where PFFR rest in the musical landscape, but they are definitely talented.
Of course, that might not be the first thing one thinks upon an initial listen to this album. Many will probably be like I first was, laughing their asses off at the charming amateur hour quality of “PFR Booms” in which the band declares “We’re PFR and we like the boom” coupled with “I’m gonna do some jumping jacks!” There are also the silly strains of “Japoney Appoe” (“Japo-nese girls step on Japoney appoe”) and the all-out weirdness of “Le Jams” that features a one-sided phone conversation in the middle of the song followed by the sound of a phone being off the hook too long.
So who are these guys? A fellow reviewer over at Splendid last year couldn’t seem to find any clues, and said that the album sometimes sounded like some strung out Sesame Street reprobates, or some other odd stretch of the imagination, but that’s not such a bad guess. The majority of Rock Rocker Rocketh sounds like it was created by a group of kids who got their hands on some guitars and synthesizers and a multitrack recorder and just had a blast with it. But the truth is a bit of a far cry from such guessing.
In fact, PFFR houses such talents as Alyson Levy, Vernon Chatman, Jim Tozzi, and John Lee. I was curious enough to find out just whom PFFR consisted of, as I couldn’t get enough of this album. After conducting an insane interview with the group, the band quietly let it slip who they were. So there goes the teenagers on pot and speed theory.
The whole album takes less than 30 minutes to listen to, but any more and it would have done the stretching thin act. The jokes are quick and to the point if there is indeed a point to such whimsical songs as “2 Nite” which is a slow, sleazy come on of a song that culminates in the line “Let’s make it tonight” being sung in a strung out voice that quickly sends all the would-be sexual rockers straight up the river. Then there’s also the bizarre “Explosion Robinson” and the Romper Room-ish sing-along “Christmas Time”.
The best song is saved for last. “Party Ice” features two verses sung at the same time, a smattering of goofy samples, and a killer chorus all about those 99 cent bags of ice that anyone can find down at the local supermarket. If only self-decreed “cool” bands like Freezepop could get their act together and throw down as believably as PFFR, then this group of insane merrymakers might have some competition. But PFFR are certainly in a class by themselves.
Rock Rocker Rocketh was released by the group last year and may have slipped out of print. Who knows for sure? However, three of the tracks here are recently being reissued on a seven inch from Invasion Planete. “Superfine”, “Le Jams”, and “Party Ice” have all been reintroduced to the masses. Either way, PFFR is seriously not a band to be missed. Through wacked-out melodies, bizarre song structures, and everything the cat dragged in thrown into their songs, the band is a one of kind, unique, and hilarious band that deserve to be recognized as one of Brooklyn’s Finest. Rock Rocker Rocketh rock on.
// Notes from the Road
"BBC Music hosted a mini-touring showcase of up-and-coming British artists.READ the article