SCREAMIN’ CYN-CYN & THE PONS – Screamin’ Target Heart Rate
A snappy little synth riff, solid-state and slinky, introduces this new creation from the unapologetically twisted and supremely silly Screamin’ Cyn-Cyn and the Pons. From that brief introduction of Casio tone and disco hi-hats through eighteen more tracks of inspired hilarity and good-natured androgyny, then back to that snappy little synth riff, this time augmented by the rest of the band, Screamin’ Target Heart Rate is unrelentingly amusing and freakishly fun from beginning to end.
After seeing the band prance and frolic through a set of this poppy, theatrical punk rock live, it wasn’t clear how that inventiveness and frivolity would translate onto disc. While the costumes and make-up are obviously missing, the lack of visual spectacle allows for a serious and intellectually honest examination of the musicality and inspired artistry of these intrepid sonic sculptors. But instead of doing that, I just bounced my head around and started singing along about practicing BJs on hair brush handles while dabbing on some eyeliner and tweaking my nipples.
With a huge number of fast, frantic, simple and short tunes crashing down one after the other in rapid succession, it took me about five times through this disc to grab all the salient details I needed to pen this review with a full understanding of the musical intricacies that have been melded together into this conspicuously creative concoction. With tracks like “Tantric Sex,” “20% Gay,” and “If That Bitch,” it instead became very clear that I was lying to myself. I didn’t need any more details. I didn’t need to understand shit. I was obviously just stuck in a closet of musical snobbery, and I had finally found an album that was bringingmeout as a lover of trans-punk.
Every tune comes on strong, with key-tar tones flying, 4×4 kick drums hitting, hilarious lyrics rolling, and raging power chords churning. With the tunes ranging from the punk-purism of the Stooges to the slap-happy silliness of “Rock Lobster”-era B-52s, this band melds varying styles of manic pop-punk with wonderfully witty lyrics that kept me completely interested in every line of every song.
So, I keep listening to see if Shane O’Neil singing, “If that bitch wears the same dress as me, I’m gonna shoot her / In the foot, in the face, in the arm and in the cooter” (from “If That Bitch”) is really the funniest line on the disc or if it’s Cynthia Burnson saying “After we’ve eaten, we will retire to the parlor / And engage in parlor games, like Pictionary and Charades and Button, Button Who’s Got the Button / I HAVE THE GODDAM BUTTON AND DON’T YOU EVER FORGET IT!” (from “Set the Table”). But maybe there’s some other line that will make me laugh so hard I can’t see straight and little drops of pee stain my panties I mean jockies, of course.
Oh, here it is, from “The Cowboy Song”: “If I had a horse, I’d kill you / If I had a gun, I’d ride away / I never met a Churchin’ that I liked in my life / I kill any man who doesn’t pray / Don’t fuck with me /…If I was a girl, I’d wear stockings / If I was a boy, I’d wear ’em more / Don’t ever tell me when to switch to bloomers / Yeah, I know my way around the panty store / I’m a pretty pony, such a pretty pony / Clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity, clip / Don’t fuck with me!”