95. Hokus Pick: Bookaboom

(Via Records, 1995)

Huh, what do ya know? Another Canadian band makes it onto the list, a band that brought snappy and happy to the Christian rock scene. And these guys were fun, inspired by Tarzan and definitely in the running for the Funnest Band Ever. They kept it light hearted, the anti-Steve Camp/Keith Green squirm-in-your-seat-and-repent-now! rockers who liked to goof off and play some catchy tunes.

But don’t let that fool you. Some of Hokus Pick’s best songs were blatantly Charismatic: I.G.Y.F.T.C.H. (If God’s Your Father Then Call Home) and I.B.I.J.I.T.O.F.W. (I Believe in Jesus In The Old Fashioned Way) come to mind. Both of those acronym-named tunes were on the band’s debut, 1992’s Pick It Up, which was a great listen. The band recorded Brothers From Different Mothers two years later, then went to work on their masterpiece as the shock-rockers of fun.

Bookaboom hit the record-store shelves in 1995, and to this day I love it. It’s simple and (did I mention?) fun rock. And the fun started with the album cover, which featured a robot and the promise of “Chills! Spills! Sci-Fi Thrills!”  While the album does ooze spiritual overtones, the songs are mostly light-hearted.

Gelatin is about playing shows as a rock band “blinded by the light like a highway bambi” as the crowd goes up and down and gigs “like cherry gelation.” It also starts off with a bizarre, incomprehensible yodel-like vocal line, which sounds like a mature Kermit the Frog.

The Screen kicks Bookaboom off, and it’s probably the best track on the record, not that the remainder of the album is anti-climatic. The fashion-themed I,I is solid and features some great guitar sounds (hurray, phaser pedal!) and I love the song’s nice, tight snare sound. Monsters Under The Bed is your prototypical Hokus Pick song: quirky lyrics, a catchy chorus and a real fun vibe (“look under the bed! look under the bed now, baby!). And any song that has the word “hormones” in the first line is alright in my books, which is how Velour Shirt begins. The chorus also mentions “pork and beans” (and yes!, they did beat Weezer to the punch). They sure don’t teach that kind of lyrical wizardry at songwriting school 😉

Not to be outdone, Dig it Up has the line “I made toast and jam and called it cooking.” Yup, these guys definitely don’t take themselves too seriously. The album ends with the light-hearted, yet inner-looking Better Man, which almost outdoes the rest of the record’s quirkiness with the use of, you guessed it, tuba!

Yup, Bookaboom is a sonic experiment in fun. Long live Hokus Pick Maneuver, Hokus Pick or HPM…whatever you want to call them.

TRACK LISTING

  1. The Screen (3:53)
  2. Gelatin (3:24)
  3. Fading Away (3:44)
  4. Nine Worlds Away (3:51)
  5. Hey Girl (3:51)
  6. Disguise (2:39)
  7. I, I (Take It Back) (2:55)
  8. Chase the Wind (3:44)
  9. Monsters Under The Bed (3:31)
  10. Velour Shirt (3:01)
  11. Dig It Up (3:29)
  12. Better Man (7:55)

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/BOOKABOOM/4797542

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