What would you get if you mixed The Bump Foundation's funk, The Absynth Quintet's jazz and the jam-based sounds of Likwefi? Not what you might think, at least based on Unstable Table's debut eponymous CD. The band consists of Ryan Roberts (The AQ, Likwefi), Tim Lane (Likwefi, The Bump Foundation), Tommy FitzMaurice (Spank, The Bump Foundation) and the heretofore unknown "Amy," citing as influences Ween, Ziggy Stardust and The Flaming Lips. With the possible exception of "Ring of Brogar," those make sense -- even that track could flow alongside Ween's The Pod album and not sound out of place.
Mostly, the songs traverse the dance-pop-rock realm, fitting somewhere between Concrete Blonde and Santana. Or as KHUM Program Director Mike Dronkers says, "Unstable Table sounds like the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack blasting from Sammy Hagar's old car. In a good way, obviously." (KHUM's Larry Trask makes an even bolder comparison: "They are the Led Zeppelin of local bands in the sense that one of them is sure to choke on vomit. Until then, though, their record will be in high rotation on my show. In a word: Love it.")
The first track, "The Party's Over," definitely deserves to be a radio hit. The sultry vocals, the sexy semi-techno beat, the here-and-again rock moments -- and the song clocks in at under three minutes, all necessary ingredients in crafting the perfect pop song. It's also made for remixing into a dance party hit, so listen for the super-extended-dance-party version at a club near you.
Awash in fuzz, "Triumph Biker" stands as the album's "experimental track." The repetition hypnotizes as if Unstable Table's sole purpose is to bring back raves. Don't forget your glowsticks, kids.
In contrast, "Lepper Piñatas" slows things down a bit, allows some room to breathe without losing the pop beat that keeps the Adult Alternative crowd convinced they're still young. But just when you think you're safe, along comes the robot talk! Yes, Unstable Table channels all the retro cool of Rock ’em Sock ’em.
This mix of pseudo-innocent with slightly off kilter continues with "Splodin'," offering up a sort of stripped-down, minimalist new wave sound. Irresistible.
All these elements culminate in Unstable Table's final track, "Trans Am." Unavoidably catchy, inescapably silly, this is the one likely to inspire the loudest cheers and most drunken singalongs when they play it live at their very first public performance ever, even if it's the only song not up at the band's MySpace (myspace.com/unstabletable). The debut gig happens at the Jambalaya, Friday, Feb. 6. (Hopefully no one chokes on their own vomit before then.) Pick up the CD while you're there -- no matter whose old car you're driving, this is a disc you'll want to blast while cruising. You've never been so cool.