The on again off again New York City based band King Missile this time return under the auspices of King Missile III, as spoken word laureate John S. Hall wreaks havoc with modern pop culture. The press release for this new recording states that while growing up in New York City, Mr. Hall was influenced by the Irish Folk group “The Clancy Brothers, pop radio and the blues. After listening to “Failure” one would surmise that Hall’s roots were akin to Ed Sanders and The Fugs, Lord Buckley, Jack Kerouac and/or Lenny Bruce. Hall dissects American phobias and social values in a unique yet at times vulgar manner. Folks, don’t play this one around the toddler’s. This is XXX stuff but not without merit.
On the title track “Failure” Hall recites (over a background of doomsday guitar and steady backbeat) positive verses such as “If at first you don’t succeed, fail and fail again” or “Think of how when you were five and you wanted to be an astronaut and then the space program went into the toilet”. Of course these excerpts are rather tame compared to others but you get the drift. Hall also covers Male orientated sex topics as in “A Good Hard Look”. Hall’s brutally realistic discussions touch on........”Sex objects that look like they were bought at K-Mart”. The musicians of King Missile III provide an effective and quite animated soundtrack behind Hall’s well stated diatribes. On “Monks” Hall quite matter-of-factly states “God really sits up and takes notice when you sing chords” or “I wonder if I could make a monk spit out his chocolate milk through his nose”. On “Gay/Not Gay” Hall cites topics from the Jerry Springer Show that deal with “Transvestites and the men who love them”. If you’re a straight male you make think twice prior to playing tackle football with the guys after hearing Hall declare..”Sports are gay, especially contact sports—unless you’re the only guy on either team, in which case it’s straight” and “Gyms are always gay because you’re showering with guys and that’s gay”. In any event there is more to this story.
Musically, King Missile III are top notch and the end results are generally rewarding. Hall and co. aim to astound and dismay; hence, this is pure adult entertainment with no holds barred. John S. Hall is a witty chap and sheds some peculiar yet thought provoking observations on a variety of socially relevant topics. Then again as they say in comedy, it’s the delivery! Hall also succeeds in this area and at times comes across as a wimp with the weight of the world on his shoulders. This sheepish or humbling attitude reinforces Hall’s persona as a man who means what he says. “Failure” is fun, no doubt about it! Recommended.
John S. Hall; Lead vocals, Backing vocals, Indian Bells; Sasha Forte: Violin, Viola, Bass, Guitars, Horn arrangements, Indian Bells, Vocals: Bradford Reed: Pencillina, Drums, Percussion, Synthesizer, Piano, Kranton, Organ, Vocals: Jane Scarpantoni: Cello, Synthesizer: Charles Curtis: Cello, Guitar, Vocals