Genki Genki Panic stands at an unlikely intersection between Mike Patton, Cave In, John Carpenter, Danny Elfman, surf music, and nerddom. Their own description of this album is that it was supposed to be an epic noise/surf concept album, and it seems it languished and they were like "eh, it's the apocalpyse right now, let's just push it out." Oddly enough, I think it settles into something that feels just about right for this band.
Most of these tracks are labelled demo mixes, and they explain that they might punch them up later. It definitely sounds unpolished, but the important parts come through. Loud, spacey guitars with plenty of grit, but also a lil' un-surflike wankin' like in the title track. When we're talking pure guitars, I think of geographically nearby The KBK and way-far-away Arno de Cea. But you've also got a lot of keyboards for that Elfman angle, and some loud, thunkin' bass that definitely gives me Faith No More vibes. They've found this sound a few records ago, and though it's tweaked, it's more about where they go with it than how they've changed it.
The originals are a blast -- violent and fast. Even though it's very enjoyable in its current form, "Mosrite Brigade" made such an immediate impression on me that I'd like to hear it worked into a fully gussied up form. But the covers are especially fun. This band has always revelled in its dorkiness, and probably chose the wrong band name if they wanted to escape it. The Zelda II Palace Theme fits comfortably as a surf riff (just like every video game surf cover I've heard -- there's an untapped gold mine y'all!). I've never watched Gravity Falls but, but that theme song is INFECTIOUS even at less than a minute. "Immigrant Song" lets the bass step up and have some fun. Beetlejuice is a song I'm amazed I haven't heard another surf band cover. And then in case you're starting to feel like this is all novelty and not enough surf, there's "Wedge Paradiso", a truly gritty and wild version.
It's absolutely not a concept album, it's barely cohesive and nearly devolves into novelty with its covers, but damn if it's not a fun listen. It feels like the collision between their sonic identity and their actual identity.
Digital download for now. Since it sounds like this is somewhat a work-in-progress, who knows if there will be CDs later.