Sound — 8
Somewhere between Tenacious D and Mr. Bungle lies Psychostick, a quintet that injects equal parts metal and humor into every composition. In some ways they are more of a low-brow version of the aforementioned bands, but that doesn't mean their latest CD Sandwich is in short supply of laughs. Far from it, particularly considering that they jam-packed their follow-up to 2003's We Couldn't Think of a Title with 24 tracks. As aptly titled an album as they get, Sandwich is fueled by songs about what else food. There are a handful of tracks that stray from the grocery theme and explore other topics (Vah-jay-jay, Girl Directions, and You've Got Mail Enhancement), so no need to worry that Psychostick has gone completely off the deep end with their food obsession. You may already be familiar with Psychostick, who gained national exposure back in 2007 when their song Beer Is GoodAnd Stuff was named the #1 single on XM Radio's Liquid Metal Show. The band has basically picked up where they left off, and the lyrical content is absolutely the star of the show on Sandwich. Guitarists Joshua Key, Jake McReynolds, bassist Jimmy Grant, drummer Alex Priess, and vocalist Rob Kersey are all solid performers, but the music always tends to take a backseat when you hear lyrics about the horrors of customers coming into a fast food restaurant 5 minutes before closing time or why girls give absolutely horrendous directions. Sandwich starts off with Metal?, a track that is a kick to the senses and intentionally so. After some wacky, spoken lines a la Les Claypool, Metal? explodes with a variety of instruments and almost feels like the beginning of Mr. Bungle's self-titled release. You'll be able to draw comparisons to a variety of different bands as you listen to Sandwich, and in many cases Psychostick is purposely trying to mock certain groups. The best example comes in #1 Radio Single, an ode to all the generic rock songs that earn a spot on the Billboard charts. It sound completely serious in terms of vocals and chorus, but the lyrics give it all away (Now we're killing time till we're at the chorus and later you hear an explanation of how pretty the distortion-free bridge sounds). As was mentioned earlier, Sandwich really is all about the food. With titles like The Hunger Within, Don't Eat My Food, Grocery Escape Plan, Do You Want A Taco?, and an assortment of others, Psychostick has been thinking long and hard about their meals. While the first track alludes to Sandwich being a metal record, the band actually switches from genre to genre to deliver the most important thing: the message about food. It all adds up to an album that is surprisingly entertaining and will hopefully earn Psychostick another hit.
Lyrics — 10
Sandwich will earn instant fans through the lyrical content, and there some insanely clever lines throughout the course of the album. Whether you're listening to A Lesson In Modesty (explaining why Psychostick is the best band ever and that they obviously deserve harems in every state) to Too Many Food (written about how there are an insane number of songs about food on the album), they keep the humor coming. The song that will possibly attract the most attention, however, is 373 Thank Yous, which lists literally all of the 373 people who donated $50 or more to help the band pay for studio time and equipment.
Overall Impression — 9
Musically it's not a bad album, but Sandwich doesn't need to rely on anything going on with the guitars, bass, or drums. If you are a fan of Tenacious D or any stand-up comedians like Stephen Lynch, Sandwich is definitely worth checking out. It was worrisome to see just how many songs (particularly food-related ones) were on the album, but Psychostick has enough clever material to make the 24 track go by shockingly fast.