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The Big Takeover #80 Spring 2017
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Album Premiere: The Vertical Mind by Fred Schneider & the Superions

Fred Schneider and the Superions
23 June 2017

Fred Schneider & the Superions; Photo Credit: Fred Schneider & the Superions

Since their Christmas record a couple of years back, pop Dadaists Fred Schneider & The Superions have been roaming through their apartment, looking for the next party. Fred Schneider (The B-52’s) writes the words and sings the songs. Noah Brodie and Dan Marshall make the music.

Blame it on the wine. Blame it on Orlando, Florida. The Superions go where no one else dares to go—into the silly, the ridiculous, the fun, the insane. Surely someone must have already written a song urging people to wake up and dance called “Sleeping Booty”? They haven’t? Sounds like a job for The Superions.

The band are releasing their new album, The Vertical Mind today June 23rd, via HHBTM Records, and The Big Takeover is pleased as punch to premiere the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle.

Lead single “Konichiwa” reworks “It’s A Small World” for a new century withSchneider singing hello in 12 different languages – because couldn’t we all use a little international friendliness? Note: it’s rumored that in some school districts, listening to it for an entire hour is enough to earn a student three credits towards graduation.

Song after glorious song dazzles with buoyant brio. There’s the disco frenzy of “Glitter Gulch”, a love letter to a famous Las Vegas strip club that, in the wake of its closing this summer, is as much an elegy as a tribute. Songs about foreign meatballs and songs about kissing (two songs about kissing!). Songs about airport strip searches (“Punk, don’t touch my junk!”) and songs about petting zoo stampedes. And then there’s “When The Dingoes Ate The Babies.” Oh, my!

It all comes to an end with “The Love That Knew No Shame”, a strangely affecting tale of illicit NYC street love that’s like emerging from a dream in the middle of the night. Fred’s voice deepens to tell, barely joking now, how love can be found in the unlikeliest places, with the unlikeliest people.

It’s a tale Schneider’s been telling his whole life: No matter how different you are, how strange you might be, there are other people out there like you who will accept you for who you are. Just because he delivers this message through zany humor doesn’t make it any less profound.

The Vertical Mind is timeless music, uninhibited, unaffected by trends. It’s the sound of three people doing exactly what they want. And in an age when everyone seems to be self-consciously looking over their shoulder all the time—afraid to look silly, afraid to sound dumb—it may be exactly what we need right now.

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