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The Inhuman Ordeal of Agent Gas Huffer

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Album Review

Gas Huffer's fourth album means more Gas Huffer hijinks — the unconverted won't find anything to change their minds; the fans will find plenty to love. Once again working with Kurt Bloch, the quartet again throws in some odd curveballs as it goes, like the glammy drum stomp that opens "You Are Not Your Job," itself preceded by a snippet from some odd '50s/'60s music education recording, apparently. The various song titles — a reliable indicator of the enjoyable craziness on any Gas Huffer release — once again come through: "Money 1, Fun 0," "Carolina Hot Foot," "Numbnuts Cold," and the stupidly genius "Double-O-Bum." The whole spy thing is actually at the heart of the artwork and design of the disc, with the four dressed as ninja/commando types with appropriate poses and responsibilities (Dan Blackstone's brief is "security," which could be why he's lighting some TNT with a cigar). One of the screams of the whole deal is "Sixty Three Hours," which has a great drum/bass intro from Blackstone and Joe Newton that plays up the whole spy theme rock thing — Tom Price's guitar just adds to everything later. Elsewhere, meanwhile, it's just Gas Huffer — the tonic one needs in a world of humorless fools who can't rock. Some surprises? "Tiny Life" actually starts with acoustic guitar, then becomes a bit of Lee Hazelwood country theatrics and gets away with it for a minute before it's business as usual. "Smile No More," meanwhile, winningly sneaks in a downright winsome bit of power pop amidst the usual chaos, playing up the image of sadness while not missing the velocity. Matt Wright's soft singing on some of the verses is practically a revelation — and are those actually keyboards on "Discovery Park"?


Formed: 1989 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Gas Huffer was formed in 1989 by vocalist Matt Wright, guitarist Tom Price, bassist Don Blackstone and drummer Joe Newton. As befitting their Seattle origins, the band plays rootsy punk rock with equal nods to Neil Young and the Cramps. Debut single "Firebug" was released in 1989, followed a year later by the Ethyl EP. Empty Records signed the band and in 1991 issued Gas Huffer's debut album, Janitors of Tomorrow. Two years later, the band returned with Integrity, Technology and Service, but moved...
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The Inhuman Ordeal of Agent Gas Huffer, Gas Huffer
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