Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & The Pons: Damn, Girl

Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & The Pons: Damn, Girl
The old adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is only occasionally true. When you are looking at an album by a band called Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & The Pons and the album cover features male arms with long, fake gold finger nails and giant gold rings that spell out “Damn Girl”, it is hard not to judge. I figured the album would either be a flamboyant hip hop group or a quirky punk band; it (sadly) ended up being the latter.
I say sadly because I would have loved to review an album by a flamboyant hip hop group, but I was pleasantly surprised with Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & The Pons regardless. Thinking about quirky Wisconsin bands, I had thought Cyn Cyn would sound like Boris the Sprinkler but the band has a slightly more mature sound. Musically the group sounds like if Stiff Little Fingers covered The Pixies; the group has a definite punk edge but they experiment with dissonant guitar sounds and complex early alternative guitar riffs. Vocally the group has an interesting dynamic. Lead singer, Shane O’Neill has a voice not dissimilar from Jimmy Pop from Bloodhound Gang which is to say he is not a talented vocalist but has the spunk and swagger to front a band. In addition to Shane, guitarist Cynthia Burnson contributes vocals; her vocals add a Kim Deal to O’Neill’s Black Francis.
But the band’s real highlight is their lyrical content. Although the lyrics typical do not follow traditional standards like a concept of rhyme or rhythm, their message is often bizarre if not hilarious. The album’s closing song, “Muffbag” is perhaps the most exemplary of this. O’Neill croons “I’m not jacking off tonight cause I need snuggly lovin’/so I filled pantyhose with sand and threw them in the over/waited till they reached the 98.6th degree/carried them upstairs and laid them where you used to sleep with me/I got the idea from an article in Harper’s about prison/where the inmates filled garbage bags with warm water to simulate the touch of women.” These lyrics are simultaneously creepy, bizarre and a bit sad.
Not all the lyrics are quite as bizarre. “Lites On, Cincinnati” starts off with the line “I cook with eggs but pretend that it’s starch cause I seem to recall that you’re vegan.” I image for vegans this line is not quite as funny but I laughed at it. It is hard to call an album with such ridiculous lyrics and non-traditional vocal work a great album but Damn, Girl is pretty close.
Rating: 8.4/10
MP3: Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & The Pons “Lites On, Cincinatti”
Buy: iTunes