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LMJ3 / Steampunkfunk Bizarre's “Totally Unexpected” or is it?
Created by Mister M on 6/17/2014 12:45:59 PM

Mister M gives his thoughts on LMJ3 / Steampunkfunk Bizarre's release, “Totally Unexpected”.


Like George Clinton’s P-Funk, Lord Montague Jacque Fromage III brings the message of the holy Funk. Whereas Clinton spreads the message “Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow,” Fromage reports on the state of the steampunk con scene. What’s Totally Unexpected from his latest missive is the way he looks at it.

First, the funk. It oozed together from Clinton’s bands Parliament and Funkadelic under the P-Funk collective. The album Mothership Connection introduced an afrofuturistic mythos similarly embraced by Sun Ra, the jazz pioneer from Saturn. Science fiction was used as a narrative for African American empowerment. Where P-Funk looked to outer space for inspiration, Lord Monty examines the steampunk convention scene from within.

This is not totally unexpected. Previous songs have touched base with the community. “WhaDitlz” pays homage to Professor Elemental’s rap prowess. “Mead” reflected on the beverage of choice from the Renaissance Faire wing. “Steampunk Is Dead” from the new album declares that steampunk is not dead, citing “thousands at World’s Fair” while name checking Teslacon, “Symposiums and Octopods and good Queen Mary too.”

What is unexpected is that in a climate in which con culture gender roles are being examined, Lord Monty has released an album that presents an andocentric viewpoint. In light of recent AnachroCon events and a larger discussion of fake geek girls, Totally Unexpected seems to be unaware of these gender issues. Three skits are devoted to the Steampunk Philosopher. The same backing track presents a complaint in dulcet tones followed by a rant backed by John Philip Sousical oompahing and a cry of “Don’t give up the airship!” The listener is addressed as “You” and is assumed to be male. The rants follow the lines of outdated nagging mother-in-law jokes. It’s probably meant to be barstool philosophy, but adding the Steampunk moniker does not do much for the community.

Fromage displays himself leeringly on some of the tracks. “(I Think You’re) Gorgeous” demands that the object of his affection “sit and beg” and “put your head into my lap and take me for a ride.” Surprise, the “bitch” in the song is actually a dog. By pulling a double entendre switcheroo, we find out that he isn’t degrading and loves his pet. While “Corsetry” addresses women’s fashion, it also urges, “Let’s have a glass of wine or two before your get unlaced.” At best, it acknowledges friskiness. It does not pair well with “White Chapel,” delivered from the Jack the Ripper’s predatory point of view. Some of this could be dismissed with the subtitle of “Chill (Soy Un Tonto),” or “I am a fool.” However, he lusts after the woman he left because he thought that she was untrue. On these tracks, he is not an observer from the mothership but an ogler.

As a funk brother from another planet (or another time), does he report on the scene or put his own values to the fore? I’ll be generous and assume that as an entertainer, he uses the tools of rap. Even Professor Elemental and Mr. B aim below the belt on occasion.  For a more positive spin, I recommend “How Steampunk Screws With Victorian Gender Norms” at Bitch Magazine. There is still some mind-freeing to be done.

Totally Unexpected by LMJ3/Steampunkfunk Bizarre is available for download at http://steampunkfunkbizarre.bandcamp.com.

Joe “Mr. M” Mason plays theremin and other oddball musical devices in the old-timey mad scientist band The White City Rippers and twangs washtub bass in the steampunk Britney Spears tribute band Spears and Gears. He also spins the amber oldies with the Lords & Ladies DJ crew.

 

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