Tag Archives: Big Dumb Face

Big Dumb Face – Duke Lion Fights the Terror!! (2001)

bigdumbcover I had a friend about 12 years ago who really liked this disc. I wasn’t old enough to drive but he was and we listened to this CD a few times in his car. I even remember him going through the whole storyline and everything. I didn’t really love it but I sure as hell found it entertaining (at least the three or four songs he would put on repeat). As chance would have it I happened upon this CD soon after during a trip to Ohio. I was ready to buy it until I saw the back label which revealed the bandleader as Wes Borland. Well my cool-ass teenage self wasn’t about to buy a CD from some ol’ Limp Bizkit dude so I wound up passing and I never saw it again until I went off to college and decided to buy a cheap copy off eBay.

First things first, despite the presence of an ex-Bizk’er, this sounds nothing like Limp Bizkit. If I had to compare it to something I would compare it to early Ween, though the songs themselves tend to sound a bit like Primus (and they look like Gwar). Though I guess I can’t generalize much about the songs, since they tend to bounce around all over the place. The first song is heavy metal with growled vocals and the second is some kind of artificially sped-up rockabilly, and the two are meant to represent both sides of the story (The “Burgalveist” and “Duke Lion”). I’m not sure what the plot is or who wins, but I’m not going to sweat it because the story is not really meant to be taken seriously at all. I mean it has the sound and attitude of an album that took all of three weeks to write and record.

bigdumb

That brings me to the vocals, probably the thing that’s going to turn most off this album right away. Borland can’t really sing, so he either slows it down to sound like a demon, or multitracks it and pitches it way up to sound like a pack of gremlins. In addition he has a tendency to pronounce a lot of words in an obnoxious way (“here” as “hee-yaaa”). Again, this is where the early Ween comparisons come from, though it’s little less funny and more self-consciously weird, and like Ween you get the impression that Borland isn’t keen on doing second takes.

Still, if you can get past that, there’s some real catchy stuff. I always loved “Space Adventure” with its massive “we are from Earth/exploring the universe” bit, and “Voices in the Wall” is genuinely brooding and creepy. Most of the songs are based off the same four chords which grounds a lot of otherwise bizarre material. The twangier stuff probably works the best (“Fightin’ Stance”, “Rebel”), and again this is where Ween seem to be a big influence. I’m not as keen on the metal (“Burgalveist”, “Organ Splitter”, “Blood Red Head on Fire”, “Robot”) but thankfully those tunes run pretty short. Wes does save one of the best tunes for last (“It’s Right in Here”) but manages to spoil it with a 17-minute collage at the end (spoiler: nothing happens).

Okay, so why is something like this album of the week? Even if I’ve gone on and on about how much this sounds like brown-era Ween, truth is it’s really a unique album. So it hits that sweet spot of unique and fun and concise (collage aside) that makes it worth pulling out every year or so, and right now it’s about that time. It’s also entertaining to think of all the Limp Bizkit fans who bought this up with no idea of what they were in for; I imagine some of them must’ve dug it, but I’d think even more would’ve turned it off by track 2 with a hearty “what the fuck?”. If not for the Limp Bizkit connection this would’ve been nothing but some obscure cult album, if they could find anyone to release it at all. I don’t believe a second album was ever attempted, leaving this as a weirdo one-off before Borland formed another (slightly more serious) band and then rejoined the Limp. Certainly there’s nothing great about it, but it’s a tough album to forget.