I first wrote about the Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra back in '05: "I don't detect anything particularly satanic about this good-natured band, nor are there any puppets in evidence. For that matter, it's not much of an orchestra - one man largely handles the music, a "mad scientist" whose robot creation sings lead. Therefore, it's the perfect name for this bizarre, funny bit of musical dada."
It all gets far more funny, bizarre, and dada-esque with the release of their debut four-disk (plus secret bonus disk) self-titled album. Apart from the music, the sheer amount of stuff that comes with it is insane, e.g.: a giant booklet with "An essay by Popular Science's music editor, Gene LaMont, our Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech, actual lyrics to all of our songs, and details about our Songwriting Contest for Artists and Musicians," as well as track-by-track audio commentary on enhanced CDs, like those DVD tracks where actors and filmmakers comment on the movie as it progresses:
The Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra "I Stole Your Daddy's Time Machine (Commentary)"
The Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra "I Stole Your Daddy's Time Machine"
The music is simple electronic pop, and almost every song made me laugh. There's no point in trying to explain the deadpan, absurdist humor. You either laugh hearing a robot speaking in tongues or you don't:
The Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra "Speaking in Tongues"
A list of influences that includes Andy Kaufman, Wesley Willis, They Might Be Giants, master Surrealist Rene Magritte, and Monty Python should tell you where these San Diegans are coming from.
A few commercials appear from apparently actual businesses sponsoring the album. The conceptual joke of the bonus fifth disk will not be revealed here, but I will say that the live disk consists of what appear to be the same studio recordings featured on the previous disks, only with crowd sounds dubbed over it! And what a crowd:
The Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra "Ornithophobia" "Penguins might be poisonous birds"
Overall, one of the most over-the-top feats of silliness I've encountered lately. What are they gonna do for the second album?