The Valley Advocate

February, 2000

Michael Strohl

When Ostrich Farm burst on the scene in late ’95, sounding like the Chili Peppers might have if they had graduated from art school, the Ashfield-based trio seemed determined to bring new meaning to the phrase “freaking the funk”. Four years on, with their newest release, the funk is all but gone but the freakiness remains. At time, the trio seems too interested in weirdness for weirdness’ sake. But when they’re on, this band can surely whip up a seductive racket. The album starts on a New Wave-ish note with “Spiral In,” a song that channels the over-caffeinated term of early ’80’ nerd-punks like Devo and the Feelies through drum machine-generated polyrhythms and Middle Eastern-inflected guitar. “You Want It You Bought It” recalls the band’s frat-rap beginnings, highlighting the spirited give-and-take between frontmen Tony Jillson and Chris Millner. Comparisons to the Beasties and their Caucasian spawn are inevitable, but the Farm excels in bringing unconventional twists to conventional sounds. “Blacklight” revives vintage metal with some ultra-heavy riffage, proving that no genre is beyond the band’s skewed sensibilities. Though they’re no longer freaking the funk, Ostrich Farm proves that, in the right hands, art-punk can be just as odd.