23 minutes, 26 tracks, 27 videos and 30 pink cassettes: Cotton Candy Cluster Bomb exists at the intersection of Type A and punk. This is the most uncompromising, (literally) sugar-fueled release you’ll see and hear all year. With a track for every letter of the alphabet, and a war between toy soldiers and fire that the former just can’t win, it’s also a commentary on the war machine; but for those who would rather focus on the sweetness, there’s plenty of pink and blue to be seen as well. Much credit goes to director Louis Lucci and to the Drunken Sufis for releasing these videos one day at a time, then packaging them all together in one enervating set.
In a perfect world, this would be a soundtrack to the alphabetical segments of Sesame Street. The letters are by turns playful, raucous, angry and even meditative. Take for example the way the drums enter in “B^B^B” as if crashing a party, or the way the guitar tip-toes into “C^C^C” as if late for the same party and lacking a cake. An opportunity for slam dancing surfaces late in “D^D^D”, if one can call 00:47 late; this is one of the longer tracks, topping out at 1:13. Those Sesame Street shorts were pretty short as well. Xylophone and other children’s toys appear on “H^H^H”, offering a surprising amount of development for such a short piece. In the days of mix tapes, one often sought a short, swift piece to fill the final minute of a side; Cotton Candy Cluster Bombs offers many such opportunities.
By “M^M^M,” we’re surfing, although not for long; “N^N^N” is a wait for a wave, followed by a crash on a reef. “Q^Q^Q” offers metal riffs and even establishes something like a chorus in only 51 seconds. “W^W^W” is a double chorus with one verse in-between. Finally on “Z^Z^Z,’ the band breaks out the jingle bells. Now everyone is having fun. It’s time for some cotton candy.
Ironically (and coincidentally), Yankee Candle has just introduced their Cotton Candy scent, while Starbucks has officially unveiled a Cotton Candy Frappuccino. It’s hot in New York (over 90 degrees already), and one can imagine the band at Coney Island. It should be a good season for cotton candy. Just keep the spun sugar away from Louis Lucci. We don’t know if he was bullied by a giant roll of cotton candy as a kid, but he certainly gets his revenge in these videos. The liquid that melts out of these is fabulous, somewhat like brains. At times the confection looks like fraternal twin Slurpees. Frames fast-forward, reverse, blur, refocus. Toy soldiers melt and are reborn. Tanks grow from primordial ooze. Things were definitely harmed in the making of this video.
There’s nothing else like this on the market: a lot of work and a lot of fun, followed by a sweet payoff. Congratulations to Drunken Sufis on another memorable project. (Richard Allen)