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Wevie Stonder - Kenyan Harry

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Artist: Wevie Stonder

Album: Kenyan Harry

Label: Skam

Review date: Jan. 26, 2004

A man with a large moustache once asked the rhetorical question (rhetorical because he figured he had all the answers anyways), “Is there humor in music?” Weird Al Yankovich would say there is. They Might Be Giants, certainly; and possibly Ween. What these well-meaning punsters don’t understand is the difference between comedy and humor. All of the aforementioned have plenty of comedy; tired gag structures, ‘kooky’ lyrics, and nauseating smugness make up the bulk of their arsenals.

Skam recording artists Wevie Stonder don’t deserve to be lumped into such ignominious company, although the Kenyan Harry EP is certainly not free of half-arsed gags. Take, for example, the number of extended bass solos on this EP. Conventional wisdom dictates that the correct number of extended bass solos on a ‘good’ album is approximately zero. There are two (!) on Kenyan Harry. There’s also a number of DJ scratching sequences, and perhaps most damningly, more than one collage made out of sped-up record noises. Based on this evidence, Wevie Stonder are either the dullest DJ purists who ever lived, or the latest addition to the Grand Olde Canon Of English Satirists.

From fossilized ‘classics’ like the intro to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, to the latest Ninja Tune-related acid jazz nightmare, no sacred cow escapes un-barbecued. In “Cheese Rider,” an over-sampled Prince chestnut is given the Squarepusher treatment; the nature-documentary-narrator-sample cliché is smashed open like a kumquat in “Downstream By Bladder”; and the Modest Mouse school of indie rock is savagely beaten with sticks in “Stitchin’,” which climaxes with what may well be the most absurd auditory orgasm ever laid down on wax. Tired turntable tricks and real instrument wanking alike, Wevie Stonder pulls no punches when skewering the self-indulgence of the DJ community.

Savage as Wevie Stonder’s wit happens to be, it’s their charmingly off-putting personalities that make Kenyan Harry worth a listen. It’s a lot like the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ version of “I Love Paris,” where he drops all pretense of singing the song and starts shouting “What about Germany?” and “ACHTUNG!!” Breaking up a cheesy ballad by yelling about random European countries might not make sense to you, or sound like it ought to be funny, but you know it makes perfect sense inside his head.

The Kenyan Harry EP has its share of corny jokes and occasionally carries the taint of forced kookiness. When it works, it’s chock full of “ACHTUNG!!” moments, from robot voices in orgasm to inflatable body parts used for long-distance travel. In these glimpses of true head-scratching stupidity, the genius of Wevie Stonder becomes inescapably clear.

By Dave Morris

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