Bad History Month, the sophomore effort from indie pranksters Fat History Month, opens on some befuddling terms. There’s this dog that lies sleepily in the shade underneath a family tree, only to arise angrily to chase down and eat the poor bastard who made the unwise decision to wake it up by kicking it.
Odd, yeah, but that minute and a half of sublime silliness goes a long way toward explaining the tunefully tweaked place these bratty Bostonians come from. Bad History Month, like its predecessor, Fucking Despair, is another delightful sonic potshot at singer/songwriter sappiness, with singer/guitarist Jeff Meff and drummer Bob Hobby crafting oddball songs couched in a charming, lo-fi indie pop sound. Imagine the lean angularity of early Modest Mouse stamped with Ween’s shrill sense for satire, and you’ve got a glimpse inside Fat History Month’s trippy musical wheelhouse.
Fucking Despair earned plentiful local accolades in and around Boston’s fervent indie community, and Bad History Month seems primed to expand upon Meff and Hobby’s small cult of admirers. The songs are a little sharper, while Meff spiels whimsically about cowboys sitting in the dirt (“Bad History Month”), love blown into tissues (“Cat In The Box”), and other tongue-in-cheek lyrical fare. But while the duo exhibits a well-honed sense of humor, Bad History Month offers up more than simple shits and giggles. Beneath the absurdity lies a duo with a finessed ear for the scrappy indie rock and lo-fi folk sounds that painted the American rock underground red in the ’90s.
Fat History Month has the songwriting chops to make it without the goofball gimmickry if they wanted to, but the duo’s ribald sense of humor, combined with their musicianship, makes for a pretty airtight pairing.
Essential tracks: “Cat In The Box”, “Bad History Month”