The following is a clipping from what seems to be the same publication and writer that reviewed another 2003 Fat Riker album, “Fat Riker Controls the Universe”. Judging from comments made inside the article, it was likely published only a short time after the original piece.
Circa late 2003
Review of “Tartar Control, Tartar Control, Tartar Control”
Sweet readers, please allow me to paint you a picture of pleasant contentment. Past challenges were close enough to bask in the satisfaction of their completion, but enough removed that memories of their more difficult moments were smoothed to a dull edge. Likewise, future entanglements were but whispers of shadows on the distant horizon: problems for other days. Within the harsh, oppressive sands of the desert that is my writer’s soul, consider this fleeting moment of happiness a cool oasis.
Foremost upon my mind was a concert I had attended the night before. Upon my arm was a nubile young journalism student. After a happenstance meeting in Hot Topic where we were both buying the same arm socks, I had offered to escort her to that night’s Nigerian Princes show. Dazzled as she was by my professional status and five-figure salary, she quickly agreed.
The concert was a rousing success; the Princes played an enlightened show that will go down as one of the venue’s finest. After the performance, I went to congratulate them and managed to secure an exclusive interview with the band in the parking lot. Excited as they were after the performance, it is no surprise that the Princes were very energetic. As they answered my questions, they got a bit out of hand and beat the license plate off of my car with a traditional Nigerian Coleman lantern. I am pleased to say, however, that they quickly fixed it without my even asking. They really are a stand up bunch of gentlemen.
It is upon this halcyonic mindscape that a shadow suddenly fell.
Though the shadow was merely metaphorical (as the cheap fluorescent lighting in the office casts no noticeable shade) I felt as if the sun itself had been blocked off by some malevolent giant. Glancing upward, I saw none other than my wrathful editor. He grinned from ear to ear, the thick creases of his wrinkles outlining his vengeful pleasure at what he was about to do next. He pitched something onto my desk.
The padded mailer seemed to ring out like the blade of the guillotine as it slapped down on my desk.
I stared up at him with wide eyes, crestfallen and imploring. In response he merely wiggled three fingers at me, a subtle yet malicious reminder of the publication’s rule of a mandatory three listens to every album before writing a review.
I slowly leaned back into my chair and regarded the envelope over steepled fingers, willing it to hold anything besides what I knew it must. The stare down went on for five full minutes before I gave in and ripped it open. My shoulders drooped and I exhaled the most theatrical sigh I could summon.
Fat Riker, of course.
Their latest effort, if it could be called that, is entitled “Tartar Protection, Tartar Protection, Tartar Protection”. The cover that announces this is crafted of three taped-together pieces of toothpaste boxes. Did they make a unique cover for each individual copy of the album? Or do they, as I have long suspected, make but a single copy to send to me? I assume they must be mass produced somehow. The idea that these madmen, whom I have never seen nor met in person, labor constantly for my sole torture is far too much for my beleaguered heart to bear.
Sadly, there is nothing for it but to listen.
Track 1 – “Very Hungry” – 0:56
Fat Riker is hungry. Very hungry. It seems they are still not allowed to order a pizza after stealing the previous one. There is much grumbling and a clinking is heard in the background. I don’t know if the clinking is meant to be the melody, but it might be. It might also be someone rummaging through a refrigerator. A voice, one which I recognize as a primary vocalist for the band, suggests that they try ordering from a different pizza place. He is promptly kicked out of the band.
Track 2 – “Clink-o-Tronic” – 6:42
The clinking from the first track returns, this time in as the solo instrument in an excruciatingly long experimental piece. The noise has been sampled and some monster has somehow added a vibrating, robot-like effect to it. This crashes through the otherwise blissful silence in a distinctly amelodic way. From time to time, I fear the artist is trying to cover the “Airwolf” theme song and this somehow makes everything considerably worse.
Track 3 – “Shambles the Pony” – 1:52
Someone is concerned where Shambles the Pony has gone. They ask around but no one seems to know. I hear clinking in the background. Was this recorded at the same time as Track 2?
Track 4 – “Still Hungry” – 0:34
The lead singer is invited back to the band, but only if he brings pizza with him. He reluctantly agrees, but demands promotion to “lead lead singer”.
Track 5 – “Pizza Guy Freestyles” – 2:17
The newly instated lead lead singer calls the pizza place again to order pizza. They still won’t sell to him, but he convinces the pizza guy to freestyle a bit over the phone. It is blissful compared to the rest of the contents of the album. He employed a stunning refrain about marinara sauce that would make a grown man weep.
Track 6 – “Pizza Failure” – 3:19
The lead lead singer fails to get the pizza the rest of the band has demanded from him. Someone plays a listless drum solo in the background and the rest of the group tells him how much he has hurt them. Someone weeps. He is once again removed from the band.
Track 7 – “Shambles the Pony is Found” – 0:23
Shambles the pony has been found, but in an unexpected place. The track cuts out before I discover where.
Track 8 – “The Microphone Smells Bad (Brush Your Teeth Before Using the Microphone)” – 2:02
Someone finds the microphone to be an assault upon the senses. It smells bad, they yell! The rest of Fat Riker seemingly cannot be bothered to care. This ambivalence to oral hygiene enrages the first man, and he claims he will find some way to make them brush their teeth.
The thought of this smelly microphone makes me gag as I can only imagine the horrors that lurk inside the moist recesses of the mouths of Fat Riker. I silently wish our new dental activist the best of luck.
Track 9 – “Let’s All Play Randomly and See if it Matches Up” – 10:34
Oh my God, this track. This, for some reason, was the one that nearly got me. The band is tuning up (unsuccessfully) and someone suggests that they all just start playing randomly and see if it matches up and makes an actual song. Let me assure you, it did not.
The banjo player kicked off hard and fast, playing what I assume was a blistering rendition of the extended version of “Fat Riker Controls the Universe” from their previous “album”. The bass keytarist jumped off nearly as quick, though with a slow, doom metal beat I had a hard time placing. Someone was playing the clinking instrument from earlier, happily divorced from its synthy effects, though possibly still attempting to play the “Airwolf” theme. It’s hard to say.
The lead vocalist was apparently back again, and he began absolutely screaming into the microphone. This was no song, though. No attempt to rhyme words was made. In fact, after searching on the internet for the meanings to his lyrics, I have determined that he was most likely reading from a Comesticorp promotional pamphlet. I’m a bit discouraged by this as I got addicted to Comesticorp’s Cheese-Puff Flavored Cheese Style Dip Bowls back in college. I’m not sure I could live in a world where Fat Riker was selling me my favorite chip dip.
This cacophony of sound continues unabated for over ten minutes. No attempt is made to actually sync up the songs or restart. It is as if a tense showdown has started and no one dares blink. From time to time, I hear the whinny of what I can only assume is Shambles the Pony. Sadly, this is the most listenable noise on the track.
I would like to remind our readers that during the course of writing this review, I was forced to listen to this song three times. That is over thirty minutes of my life in total. I could have watched an entire episode of Airwolf in that time. (I think. Was Airwolf an hour or half-hour show?)
Track 10 – “Shambles the Pony is a Dick” – 2:12
Shambles the Pony has been looking at a member of the band weirdly. Said member is convinced that Shambles is making fun of him for not being a pony. Same member is further convinced that this proves that Shambles the Pony is prejudiced against non-ponies. Someone tries to calm him down by humming a partial refrain from “Let’s All Play Randomly and See if it Matches Up” but he is inconsolable.
Why is Fat Riker allowed to own an animal? I am worried for the safety of Shambles the Pony.
Track 11 – “Let’s Kill Shambles the Pony!” – 4:23
The enraged member from the previous track has become so cross at Shambles the Pony that he is now considering pony murder. Everyone else is distraught by this. The band decides to play a song to get their minds off of the problem, and the angry member suggests they name their new song “Let’s Kill Shambles the Pony!”
The group disagrees and decides to play something they call “Backwards Song”. It is a terrible song and sounds a little like a high school marching band falling one-by-one off of a cliff, only in reverse. I cry and laugh a little and feel bad for doing both. I hate these men and I hate this album.
Once again, the liner notes were bereft of a track listing, so each silent moment after this final song made my heart jump with terror that the album’s assault was not yet complete. As the last desperate notes of the track fade away, so does my torture. I have, yet again, survived a Fat Riker album. I feel I must be better versed in their “musical” stylings than anyone else. It is not a thing that I am proud of.
If I must search for at least a single nice thing to say here, I will admit that this album will at least remind you to brush your teeth.
Also, please be nice to ponies.