Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Voluntary Mother Earth-Unacceptable Vegetable

April 1, 2008

voluntarymotherearth(http://www.myspace.com/voluntarymotherearth) Voluntary Mother Earth – Unacceptable Vegetable

Self-released

Eccentric, hilarious, absurdist rock from Tokyo.

What do you get when you mix powerful rock with funk and hilarity? A tomato, actually – which is, more specifically, an Unacceptable Vegetable. This album from (http://www.myspace.com/voluntarymotherearth) Voluntary Mother Earth is insane and satirical, but also has a strong rock foundation.

Unacceptable Vegetable begins with an ominous bell tolling, but then launches straight into heavy rock. They make the hilarious demand of “give us a tomato” in the opening song of the same name. By this point, it has definitely stopped sounding ominous, and has instead set the album’s rock-oriented sound. It also makes it clear that this band does not take themselves too seriously. The balance of head-nodding heavy metal sound and goofy lyrics in “Give Us a Tomato” is certainly original, if a bit disconcerting at first.

“Free Head for a Free Ride” is a funkier song, with more of a jam-band feel. The subject matter of this tune is blatantly sexual, which is another common motif of this album. Take, for example, the last two tracks, which are respectively titled “Forgive My Penis” and “… And You Got My Penis Hurt.”

Frequently on Unacceptable Vegetable, Voluntary Mother Earth expresses the strangeness of everyday activities. This is especially true on “I Said ‘Just Water, Please’ and She Gave Me Sprite,” which is about, well, just that. The entire song discusses someone who goes into an IHOP and orders water to drink, but, alas, gets a Sprite instead. Its extremely dramatic interpretation of the event is far funnier than its apparent ordinariness. This song isn’t simply funny though – the theatrical rock accompanying the lyrics suits their satirical style.

Another standout track is “A Story of the Typical Week of a Starving Musician.” This fast-paced song is not as hard rock as some of the rest of the album, but has more of a danceable sound, with the use of synth keyboards and funky guitar riffs. There is also a surprising honky-tonk break in the middle (which is not meant to be completely serious, of course).

Overall, Voluntary Mother Earth manages to combine heavy rock music with crazy lyrics and subject matters on Unacceptable Vegetable in a way that really works – as long as you don’t take music too seriously.

Megan Morgan

megan@independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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