Polka Floyd - The Polka Floyd Show [Static Records, 2008]

One of the most depressing albums in the history of rock music has to be Pink Floyd's The Wall... or, as I call it, the soundtrack to wretchedness. Congratulations Mr. Waters, who knows how many people have topped themselves while listening to your ode to misery. That's the main reason why I'm so happy to review the release of Polka Floyd's debut album, The Polka Floyd Show. It's like the antidote to angst. I challenge you to try and feel morose while listening to this album. That's why I say, break out the vodka and psychedelics, The Polka Floyd Show is here!

The album begins with a rollicking rendition of See Emily Play. As I listened to it, It conjured up images of Syd Barrett dressed up in lederhosen doing back-flips around the room while a chimpanzee on a unicycle juggled oranges. Or maybe that was the vodka and LSD. Either way, it was a most enjoyable experience.

The psychotic acid-laced accordion opener on One Of These Days leads into a fairly faithful rendition of the guitar solo from the original song, until reverting back to full-on accordion freak-out. Personally speaking, I found the guitar solo a little too faithful to the original for my liking. But then again, as Hunter S. Thompson used to say, ”Things never got weird enough for me.” Speaking of the good Doctor, Breathe/Time is what I imagine Thompson heard banging around in his skull while he was stumbling around Vegas with Oscar Acosta, with fear and loathing bubbling in his brain pan. The accordion works spectacularly well on this tune, lending some wonderful added atmosphere to a familiar Floyd favorite. Ken Haas's vocals are nothing short of brilliant, as is his guitar solo, which is delivered in a much more up-tempo fashion than the original. If this song doesn't get you going you're probably dead, check your pulse.

The same can be said for their treatment of Have A Cigar with it’s organ grinder opening and raw, carnivalesque vocals. This song will have you throwing kielbasa at the neighbors in no time.

Pigs On The Wing left me rather puzzled with it’s almost total lack of deviation from the original... it’s like they forgot to polka-fy it. Maybe accordionist Eric Hite had the flu when they were recording it.

Hey You is more like it. The first minute sounds like a suicidal sea shanty before the lads and lassie break through the dirge like delirious drunken pirates. Welcome to the Pink Floyd circus! It could easily fit the scene in Dumbo where Timothy falls into the barrel of beer and trips out on those dancing pink elephants. I bet if you turned the sound down and played that scene you'd think it was made for Dumbo... Just like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard Of Oz, except not.

The closing number on The Polka Floyd Show is Outside The Wall, which goes off in full-on big top mode with the old Roger Waters spiel delivered in a slightly subdued side-show barker style. I was picturing Roger and David Gilmore hobbling down the midway as Siamese twins, punching each other in the face with every step. Freak show Floyd for the 21st century, ya gotta love it.

Joe Pickell

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Polka Floyd - The Polka Floyd Show