Kid Loco has made no secret of his penchant for recreational drugs. This latest album takes on Belladonna and, depending on whether or not the word is split in half like a baby at the mercy of King Solomon, either pertains to the potent hallucinogen (and lethal poison), or a beautiful woman (which, under the right circumstances, has a similar effect to the drug).
Which influence Kid Loco is referencing on this album is hard to ascertain, as this is a collection of songs obscured by a hazy fug which at times is as tedious as it is thrilling.
My Hero is a perfect example. It quickly settles into a trip-hop groove, continuously repeating the mantra “the boys meet the girls now, we’re going to have a party we’re going to have fun” in a disconnected drawl that suggests that any party involving Kid Loco would involve incoherent dribbling and unscheduled snoozing. Then there’s the appalling braggadocio that given the benefit of the doubt, might be tongue in cheek, but seems entirely serious. “I’m the strongest man in the world, a really really bad motherfucker…I’m super chic” Loco brags before sealing the deal with the ladies by adding “I read books and I can cook”. Once the appalling lyrics are out of the way, My Hero opens out into a doom-laden grind that proves irresistible. With a driving bass, piano stabs and a carefully applied wash of noise it’s arguably one of the most thrilling sections on the record.
Ballad For A Belladonna, is a work of sonic genius. A beautiful piano line augmented with a mournful accordion and an unhinged theramin sets the tone for a wonderful vocal line. Importantly, it doesn’t hang around long enough to become tiresome, and, mood established, it disappears into the ether before it has a chance to disintegrate.
This is followed by The Attention Span Of A Butterfly a song about suicide and murder crowbarred into an arrangement that bizarrely emulates Ringo Starr‘s worst contributions to The Beatles. Naturally it’s perfectly produced and executed, but it sails too close to Octopus’s Garden for comfort.
It’s these moments of brilliance tempered by tracts of tedium or moments of madness that define the album. My Daddy Waza starts with a drum beat that could easily be Ween‘s Voodoo Lady, which is no bad thing in itself. Unfortunately, it sleepwalks around in a cod-Latin-Funk haze, all wah-wah guitars, slinky rhythms and drawled vocals. This might sound appealing to some, but the reality is one of a lounge bar band gone awry.
Similarly the lounge-tinted cover of Iggy Pop‘s The Passenger borders on parody at times It lacks any real punch, coming across like a saunter rather than an anthem of disconnection and anger which the original had in spades.
There are however glimpses of genius to be found. The gentle pop of The Morning After takes Lou Reed‘s considered drawl and marries it to a melody that isn’t a million miles away from Baby Bird‘s You’re Gorgeous. On the other side of the coin is the menacing stomp of Too Close To Death which effortlessly creates a feeling of unease thanks to a relentless piano figure and a theramin that seems to be choking on its own vomit. Thankfully there’s a gorgeous chorus to provide a little light relief from the claustrophobic tones surrounding it.
Confessions Of A Belladonna Eater is by no means a terrible album, but it is wildly frustrating and wanders aimlessly into dead ends all too often to be considered great.