Howcha Magowcha (Archenemy)
by Scott Hefflon
Howcha Magowcha opens with the predominantly instrumental “Gull Bite,” a song perfect for a barroom scene in which Indiana Jones is drugged by comically wicked villains, complete with belly-dancing temptations, gauzy veils mussing his hair, eyes bulging to see the pick-pocketing monkey sneak in from one side, the fat, sweating, turban-headed ruffians sneaking from the other with scimitars in hand… I have no idea what the song is supposed to be about, but that’s what it does for me. Following is “Smooth Karate,” a song whose chorus, “Sex with you is like watching kung fu, baby,” still resonates from when I heard it on Castle von Buhler’s second compilation, Nigh. Produced (separately) by the Dambuilders’ Eric Masunaga and Zippah Studio’s Pete Weiss, you know your in for a sonic fare (or fair, if you’re so inclined) rarely seen ’round these parts. And “Go Baby,” with its squealing chorus of, “Go baby, get high,” practically ensures it will be the theme song to some really noise-happy partyheads, if they can keep their eyeballs from leaping out of their sockets as the feedback swallows the tune in the end. (As an aside, I find it interesting that the first few songs – though not the first itself – all begin with a recognizable drum beat, then build from or completely disregard it. “Smooth Karate” starts like “My Sharona,” “Metronome” like a U2 song (which then kicks with one bad-ass bass sound), “Go Baby” like Janes’ “Had a Dad” (OK, so there was a half-volume guitar intro), and from there it gets more subtle, but I’m definitely hearing the theme from Batman, either that or Howcha Magowcha is getting to me more than I’d thought.) Oh yeah, this is a platter to have and to hold, in good moods and bad, but not recommended without proper supervision.