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Quinn Walker: Laughter's an Asshole/ Lion Land

Quinn Walker: Laughter's an Asshole/ Lion Land

Release Date:2008
Genre:Indie Rock

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 1/23/2008

"Weirdo" is such a lazy, overapplied label. It's affixed to producers, musicians, and other artists with a frequency that's almost alarming--especially considering that many of them aren't achieving anything especially revolutionary. Take Brooklyn, N.Y., songwriter Quinn Walker. His omnivorous bedroom pop integrates existing mores into something uniquely personal and grandiose, but double album Laughter's an Asshole/Lion Land isn't so much Ariel Pink-alarming as comfortingly odd. Walker is no weirdo; he's more like an unconventional, realist-jokester motivational speaker who missed his calling and really dug the Flaming Lips' The Soft Parade.

There's no true separation between Laughter's an Asshole and Lion Land save the latter's multiple, enthused references to the lord of the jungle; the entire affair has a bizarre self-improvement seminar feel, a grab bag of disguised good advice and an equal number of twisted door prizes. On orchestral-psychedelic rocker "Heaven With You Tonight," Walker pretends to be a babbling, too-grateful acolyte--effectively big-upping himself for being so damn Tony Robbins. Country hoedown "I'd Like to Take a Picture" sarcastically excoriates the camera-happy, sneering "if you have to make up a slide, your life must be boring"; "Rita Lolita" switches between seductive, shuffling come-ons and a Day-Glo chorus straight outta Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, replete with a bumper-sticker slogan: "If you cover your eyes, you won't notice that you've fallen flat on your face again."

All of which is thrilling enough, but Walker's tangents are no less enjoyable. See schizophrenic intersecting-chant curio "Capital Punishment," faux-"We Didn't Start the Fire" Casio SK-1 ramble "Cubicles," or the symphonic buckshot of honking horns--brass, automobile, bird (or all three?)--on "Tying Feathers Together" if you don't believe. You may find yourself scrambling for an enrollment form.

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