"Bubble City" (Realistic Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.


Impress your friends with your anti-hipness or maybe counter-hipness! Pong's "Bubble City" has its own ridiculous hip style in the vein of Cake with enough seventies hard rock-influenced madness to make the CD a mindless throwback venture, very much like its one-dimensional video game namesake introduced in the mid-seventies. 

One-dimensional doesn’t really apply here, however. 

"Irreverent" would probably be an understatement; geek rock might be a little apropos, but whatever the case, sign me up, man! "Bubble City" thrums, grooves and beats itself silly with a steady pulse, courtesy of Lyman Hardy’s drums and loads of funky and rhythmic rockout sections that hardly let up. 

"The Killer Lifestyle," the hilarious opening track, is a brutally honest song about posers and gets Bubble City off to the right note, even as Pong coats its driving tempo with some odd flotsam noise to coincide with the groovy guitars. “Secret Meat” is wacky in the Mr. Bungle sense, but it still rocks confidently with a carefree swagger that spills into the gut-busting “Interpol.” Seriously, I don’t know what’s funnier, the blatant cowbell backbeat or the fuzzy voice distortion chanting the disco-laced mantra, “Interpol Boogie!” Both are relics of their time and age, and yet they fit snugly into Pong’s oddball scheme.

And so it continues with cheeky post-Devo ala Cake songs like “Click O.K,” “Conform to the Norm” and “The Owl” until the last track, “Finally,” another riotous jam played in a live setting. “Led Zeppelin used to actually cut up the tape,” the song chants, which turns into a full-on rant about what constitutes good music. Funny enough, the song adopts some classic Kiss riffage as it rouses up its chorus, “Finally, finally some good music!” Rock and roll all night, gentlemen …

Cake has always been one of those break from the norm bands I crave to give me a deeper musical sustenance. So too will Pong be. Like Cake, you know why you like this fringe rock – it’s positively dumb but it’s fun…a lot of fun.

For more information, check out www.pongsongs.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400.