Do you remember Wacky Races? You know, that crazy ass cartoon where every episode was a race with a bunch of crazy ass people/creatures in crazy ass cars trying to take each other out (in kid-friendly ways, of course). You know Superjail? That crazy ass cartoon where every episode the crazy ass Warden concocts some half-baked scheme that ends up taking all his crazy ass prisoners out (in not kid-friendly ways)? Well, VCR’s R.I.P. Sportsboy is what you might get if Black Francis and John Zorn hung out, did a buttload of shrooms and crack, ditched the horns for synths, and sound-tracked a Wacky Races/Superjail crossover episode.
Yes, it’s as awesome as that sounds.
This is one of the most spastic records probably in existence, definitely one of the most spastic punk records. It’s synth punk to the naked ear, sure, but these guys are playing some fucked up no wave jazz grindcore shit, it’s just way too catchy and way too brightly toned to be thought of in such a heavy and grimy context. This record is brutal as all get out, but it’s cartoon violence.
R.I.P. Sportsboy is a concept album, I guess. The Rise and Fall of
Ziggy Stardust Sportsboy, or whatever. The “story” (what little you can make out from low-mixed Black Francis-like shrieks of vague lyrics and bizarre samples) is completely insane. The grooves and their constant shifting, re-implementation, and modification are what makes this special. This isn’t an album of songs, rather each track is a movement that implants a visual scene in your brain of animated chaos, a rebellion of stupidity breeding violence and coming full circle. It’s structured almost like a a classical piece, taken to its zany and immature extremes.
At only 17 minutes, R.I.P. Sportsboy demands to be heard start to finish each time you listen. It’s a punk rock epic that flips genre tropes on their heads, successfully marries accessibility and complexity, and it’s unlike anything in your record collection.
That sounds like the definition of a masterpiece to me.
Music videos for “Murder City Rules”, “Scream Again”, “One Trick Dog”, and “Shut Up”: