Tub Ring – Zoo Hypothesis

4 out of 5

Label: Underground, Inc.

Produced by: The Brothers Brooks, Theresa Brooks

From the anarchic embracement of technology and science of Drake Equation to the cynical but hopeful eyes-to-the-sky Fermi Paradox – note that those album titles also proceed from calculation to curiosity – punk spasm band Tub Ring keel over into a pit of paranoia on Zoo Hypothesis, in which the invasion – from within and without – has begun, and it’s no longer clear if it’s a good or bad thing.

Tiny, Little kicks things off on a deceptively precious note, with crystal clear production from Teresa, Jeffrey, and Dan Jeremy Brooks capturing Tub Ring at a peak point in their genre mashing – past the kitchen sink approach of early stuff and before the more mature rock sound of The Great Filter and Secret Handshakes – the song itself rather slyly moving from the micro to the macro in considering the destructive force of knowledge.  If we flip-flop to the end of the disc, we get some Heaven’s Gate rhetoric in Vehicle – Kevin Gibson swirling his alien lore with the overall concept of mankind’s evolution – and, matching the framework of these two tracks, the back of the disc’s artwork shows our evolutionary timeline, from monkey, to man, to explorer, to… suicide.  Humorously bleak stuff.

In-between, TR gets up to their wonderful thrash hijinks, pristinely blended with some classic pop and pastiche.  Lyrically, the people of Zoo Hypothesis’ world are not the best: responding to the universe around them with selfishness or hostility; we have reached the stars – been reached by the beyond – and now we’re going primitive.  That’s not to say the disc is without the humor of other Tub Ring releases, but it’s pretty tight-lipped about it, even while set to a bouncy beat.

Later in the disc, I do feel like the narrative slips a bit, or rather, the concept is just sort of being repeated, but the music is damned catchy throughout that, really, unless you’re trying to pry out meaning to talk about for a review, it hardly matters.