Testosteroso - Comedy Rock - Marietta, PA
Comedy music exists in a strange area of in-betweens—it’s just as engaging (if not more so) than even the most inspiring, uplifting material out there, but often fails to be taken seriously, strictly because of the subject matter. Testosteroso, a self-proclaimed “friendly neighborhood dick joke band,” would, naturally, be expected to teeter on this precise blurry, facetious edge of funny enjoyable songs that don’t quite manage to make a lasting impact on the psyche, but the group’s 2012 full-length “Four-Fathers” seems to pose quite the challenge to this phenomenon. While lines like “I’d rather slam my dick in a refrigerator door than see your ugly f*cking face gain” may not change your life, there’s no way to avoid the categorical memorability.
Even before hitting the “Play” button, the grotesque imagery accompanying “Four-Fathers” lets you know right out of the gate that you’re in for an unconventional aural ride. A quick glance at the song titles (“Bambi Sandwich”, “Robo-Sexual”, “Kick You in the Vagina”, etc) is probably more than enough to turn the prudish away, but to dismiss Testosteroso for their song titles would be like rejecting a cheeseburger because you don’t like the plate it’s on.
The “Testo Theme” kicks things off in as fitting of a manner as humanly possible, with some unexpectedly refined recording production and six-string talent. Testosteroso may be a “joke” band, but Skot Shaub sure knows how to play a guitar, as he proves time and time again throughout the album. You can almost see him shaking his head back and forth in unrelenting irony onstage as his power metal fingers hop up and down the fretboard during the verses, and his James Hetfield/Danzig vocal delivery hybrid only adds to the satire.
“Chew Toy” will have you laughing nonstop at the absolute ridiculousness of the tight chorus vocal harmonies singing about “wiener surgery” as a skilled bass riff finishes off each measure. Despite the comical presentation of “Four-Fathers”, the music is actually rather engaging and diverse for a band with such a strikingly nonchalant exterior shell. The octave leads in “Chew Toy” are the best melodic lines that The Misfits never wrote, and the lighthearted, bouncy riff beginning “Kick You in the Vagina” is a perfectly executed nostalgic trip back to early 2000's ska punk.
Many will be quick to write off “Lesbians” as a chauvinistic downward spiral into gender discrimination (which, for the most part, it is), but Shaub still amazingly finds a way to achieve some sort of insight within the ceaseless jesting. As he laments the porn industry’s misrepresentation of female homosexuals, who are, very rarely, as perfectly thin, tan and blonde as you’ll see in every PornHub masterpiece, you can’t help but see the connections within to your media criticism class on campus. Aside from laughing, successful comedy is supposed to get you thinking, and as Testosteroso skillfully ridicules a still enormously popular genre without ever missing a beat, you start to wonder if there really is a difference between the two. Differences or not, sign me up.
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By: Max Puhala