Henrique Couto/Legend of Flannel Bear
Yule Be Sorry EP
Sometimes, you can tell all you need to know from looking at an album cover. Like, for instance, this one. Take a long, hard look at this album cover. Seriously – it’s right here. If you consider yourself the kind of person who would look at this particular album cover and say, “this might be pretty good,” please, do not continue reading. Do not stop to think; purchase this album, have yourself a merry little chuckle. However, if you saw something that irked you about the cover of this album – and it could be anything (the font[i], their faces, etc.), it will not be the last time you wince regarding the confusing and largely unmusical Yule Be Sorry EP, a seasonal split album between Henrique Couto and the Legend of Flannel Bear.
Conceivably taking a ‘punk rock’ approach to recording ukulele ‘songs,’ the first three belong to Couto, and he appears to have little or no understanding of ‘pitch,’ ‘key,’ or ‘beat.’ This becomes blatantly evident as soon as the album begins it’s uncaring and boorish onslaught. Obnoxious faux-jingle bells loop without stopping; luckily, Couto eventually does – but not before the songs become more confusing and disorienting, carrying on for what seems like hours. The second guy (responsible for the last three), Flannel Dude, seems to also have trouble obtaining listenable results (which makes me wonder if he’s actually listening to himself), utilizing an extremely strange and self-derivative song structure three times over – all the while oddly (and perhaps predictably?) ignoring his guitar chords completely in regards to vocal melody.
Both of these ‘court jesters’ strive for humorous lyrics and end up falling just a bit short. The neat little Henrique ditty, “We Wish Jew A Merry Christmas,” while not particularly hateful in any lyrical sense, ends up offering a slice of insight into what these ‘performers’ consider entertaining and/or comical; slightly bewildering misogyny (asking for presents from “bitches”) and your slightly-below average middle school “gross out” humour. None of this proves to be offensive as it retains no biting social commentary nor the outright wit or intelligence to actually hurt anyone’s feelings. The laughs you may have are clearly not intentional.
Yes, I am sorry, but I think that may be the larger point: They’re charging $8 for an album of good intentions (six tracks of them, in fact), and someone (i.e., you, people with poor taste, friends, well-wishers) will buy it. In light of this horrible review[ii], I imagine these two will bemoan the fact that the ‘establishment’ doesn’t ‘get their style’ and that writers for print-media are ‘out-of-touch,’ and then themselves begin to force everyday folks to seek out this criminally misunderstood ‘album’ in order to prove me wrong. This was premeditated, and someone (probably you) let it happen. This is not to say these men are not untalented. I believe in the good of all people, and that everyone has a larger purpose in our terrestrial existence. If Yule Be Sorry is any indication, this is clearly not the correct path for either of these folks. Look – in a day and age when people are famous for being the joke on accident, We, the buying public[iii], will always sniff out those that are trying too hard, and will always reserve the right to call it as such. We demand forced realism, so long as it’s pretty and succinct. We demand fiction, so long as it’s just far enough removed from our own reality that it is no longer squeamish to enjoy. As an artistic concept, this album is neither. There is an upside, however; Yule Be Sorry eventually ends, but nobody’s[iv] laughing with them.
We begin to unravel the social and cultural connotations: Is this the forced outcome of our post-modernist obsession with shameless and unwarranted self-promotion? Are we to accept this as the product of the amalgamation of over sixty years of pop culture readily available at our fingertips? Perhaps, if it were not for the internet, this album would not exist (it has been promoted actively online), and we’ll blame the web instead – or possibly the lack thereof; there is no conceivable reason anyone with this many freely open reference points should be able to produce an album justifiably deserving of a negative review in a local paper. This is not a fun album; this is devastating. One imagines that “Weird” Al Yankovic must now feel the same about this as Zach de la Rocha feels when he listens to Limp Bizkit – an overwhelming sense of guilt for spawning such reprehensible concepts and unintentional hilarity. Does this particular album deserve this many words? No. BUT, if this trend continues, at least someone will be able to say “I told them to stop.” Shape up or ship off. We can vote your albums off the island.
[i] I am perhaps a font snob, and if that seems inconsequential or dubious to the reader, these particular fonts would be the equivalent of a guy who insists ranch dressing on pizza is good while fingering everyone else’s slice. Also, what kind of person needs two Holiday-themed fonts on album that already has Santa hats and a Christmas tree?
[ii] Or perhaps in spite of it.
[iii] And the downloading public.
[iv] Nobody but the aforementioned.
— W.C. Ruffnel
If anyone is interested the album is available at http://