A+ A-

The Corn People - "The Great Scooba Chase" album review

Today, I did some more research into The Corn People mystery, hearing of their exploits under the seas after space-faring and world domination. This album, The Great Scooba Chase, was released in September and details these adventures underwater.

I don’t have much to say about the cover of The Great Scooba Chase. It’s got The Corn People under the water in some kind of submersible. The text is wavy, and everything is dark. There are abstract bubbles flitting about and some sine waves. It’s fine, but I wish it just was a little less dark or more colorful a bit. Yellow looks weird underwater. That’s life though, sometimes.

“Dive! Dive! Dive!” is a great, kooky watery intro. It has a sound like many prog bands such as Zuntata and Eloy distilled into under 40 seconds. “20,000 Legumes Under the Sea” has the chimey synths ringing in as a more horrid sound filters through the background and some weird animals squeal and shout. “The Great Scooba Chase” is like Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” but more minimal, sonar blips amongst the waves. “Attacken of the Kracken” is a seriously goofy name, but it starts as a silly song. A rollicking bassline is accompanied by sawtooth ascents and descents. I like the break with the big explosion, and everything goes haywire afterwards. Wires whiplash as the song ends, continuing the great sound effects library of The Great Scooba Chase.

“Hadopelagic”, the types of organisms that dwell in the deepest parts of the oceans, is a great description for this melodic wonder of sound. There aren’t any b-movie sound effects here; this is a mystical and wondrous piece of musick. It could be in a film or video game or something else that is awesome. The many layers of sound contribute to the depths of this voyage. “The Unknown Danger” is a short piece that builds up but doesn’t go anywhere. It sounds cool for what it is, though it is relatively sedate. “Rise Up” has the deepest bass sound I’ve heard on a Corn People release. It’s nice to hear a thicker sound, and the drums sound full too. This track is pretty good, but the lead twirls around into an eddy and gets lost downstream for a moment or two. “Tamam Shud” is named for a mysterious murder case surrounding an unknown man found on a coast in South Australia on December 1st, 1948. This track has the static of unvoiced radio chatter amidst it’s pulsing beats and rush of sonic adventure. “Sub Jam Sesh” is the last song here and one of the best. The depths ripple as bubbles twinkle in the last glimmers of light. Some of the sounds recall Pere Ubu's fractured musette and the ruinous doom of Allen Ravenstine's sampler. Now, back to the surface.

It's spotty and uneven, not unlike other Corn People albums, but The Great Scooba Chase truly plumbed new depths for undiscovered species of musick. I really enjoyed the later half of the record and liked the variety of song lengths here. Nothing went past five minutes, having to come up for air sometime sooner than later. The hollow synth sounds could be tiresome when used too much, but this album did so many other things with the sounds of waves, crashing electric impulses, and the deep rumbles of sulphur that it works. The Great Scooba Chase receives a Good.