Parents Night at the Leper Colony is a compilation of music recorded by Leisure Class between the years of 1979-1994. Leisure Class seems to be more of a collective with over twenty musicians on the album and nearly as many musical styles. Sounds like Frank Zappa, The Blue Meanies, Meatloaf, Nomeansno, Mr. Bungle, and Pere Ubu.
Parents Night at the Leper Colony is bizarre to say the least. Their melodies are aggressive, their harmonies a vast tonal labyrinth. Songs change direction without warning at rollercoaster speeds. Overwhelming to the point of exhaustion, choruses of people, singing. Horns, slap bass, aggravated arpeggios, cock rock riffs, political and social satire. This album is not escapism, this is a close up examination of castration anxiety.
Leisure Class' intelligence and originality place them in league with other new wave weirdo groups Devo and Oingo Boingo. Where Leisure Class fails though is the schizophrentic flavor of the album which, mixed with the aggression, makes the album unpleasurable to listen to. Parents Night should come with a bottle of asprin. In the era of chillwave and relaxed synthetic pulses, Leisure Class is the negation of chill.
The "Weekend Punk" recorded in Detroit 1979 would be best shuffled between the MC5 and the Stooges. Followed by "Fragment 3" which has a skin crawling digital alarm noise beeping away through the entire song. "Sorry I Made You Cry" is a bossa nova jam. There's something for everyone, and everything for no one. The commercial viabilty of Parents Night at the Leper Colony is equal to that of Arnold Szchwarzeneger brand contraceptives. Yet, still I have to ask if the problem is the music or if it's a mountain I haven't been able to scale.
- Steve Barman
Motor City Rocks
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