Modeled after fellow West Coast punks the Smugglers and the Subhumans, Nardwuar and his bandmates churn out short, catchy, upbeat punk/garage/pop nuggets with remarkable consistency.
In less capable hands, the various stunts by Nardwuar the Human Serviette would be deemed the work of a self-serving media whore, but for 20 years, the squeaky-voiced, tam-wearing musician/TV personality/radio DJ/historian/Vancouver institution pulls it off, whether it's bewildering celebrity musicians with his confrontational (yet weirdly charming) interviewing style, his unparalleled knowledge of Canadian rock music history, and his always fun band the Evaporators. Modeled after fellow West Coast punks the Smugglers and the Subhumans, Nardwuar and his bandmates churn out short, catchy, upbeat punk/garage/pop nuggets with remarkable consistency, and while their new album might not have anything as uproarious as "Addicted to Cheese" and "I Feel Like a Fat Frustrated Fuck" from 2004's Ripple Rock, Gassy Jack and Other Tales is still worthwhile. Accompanied by Narwuar's always-fascinating liner notes, the songs touch on such eccentric topics as Vancouver's folk heroes ("Gassy Jack"), Evatone soundsheets (uh, "Evatone Soundsheets"), distinct slices of Canadiana ("St. Roch", "Float Plane"), and the most infamous, bizarre moment in Vancouver punk rock history ("Where's the Butterknife"). What's most interesting, though, is how Nard has toned down his nasal whine on this record, and that his three-piece band, which includes New Pornographer John Collins, is willing to try some new ideas, such as the furious groove of "What If I Care About the People Who Live in the Seas Around Me?"