The three-piece progressive rock group Drug Money released Science Fair Peepshow earlier this year. Elements from funk, punk, and rock meld themselves together for an experience that takes many turns. While some issues become quite apparent as I dove deeper into the record, it maintains its overall foundation with some unpredictable twists.
The opening song, 8-Bit Dream, starts the album off strong. Erik Haley’s funky bass hooked me right away while being accompanied by rhythmic riffs and technical drumming gives this opener an edge over the rest of the songs. Tim McClain’s vocals give me an old school rock vibe that still fit in the modern rock environment. No other song could have started things off this strong.
Punk Funk lives up to its name by having that harder sound you would expect from punk while having plenty of funk to spice things up. The instrumentation has cohesive chemistry that drives this hard-hitting track while slowing down for a solo that shows off more skill from McClain that what has been heard so far. Adding to the strength comes from McClain providing more variety in his singing to show he has quite the range in style.
Things go down a bit for me with the dry One Hell of a Night. The riffs have a soothing groove that overpowers all of the other elements. The long breaks between vocals and instrumentation started to get boring without enough stimulating variation.
The drumming power of Tim Dugas gets a short spotlight to open up Next World before the guitar and bass come in to back it up. I felt a jazz-inspired vibe by how each piece of the music had its own individual role. Less unison than Punk Funk with a lot more exciting paths to take. While the focus on instrumentation leaves plenty of breaks between the singing, I did not get as bored here, unlike how I felt during One Hell of a Night.
With Interest has a trembling personality with the bass and drums come smashing in while the guitar drives itself on its own road. The singing and instrumentation all have their own individual personality that stands strong without letting any other piece get in the way. To top it off, this is by far the catchiest tune on the album.
Taking a heavier turn, Eyes of God is the most aggressive song to be found here. Along with its relentless drive, the guitar work stands out as its best on the entire album. The only shortcoming here is the vocals sound too quiet while the instrumentation drowns it out.
Thoughts deceivingly start off melodic and somber but halfway through picks up its speed and dynamics to transform into something entirely different. The transition felt natural, leading to a powerful end.
Before closing down, the instrumental track Pot Brawny blends the melodic and heavier tones heard previously. A short, sweet treat right before the extensive closer.
The almost seven-minute conclusion with The Beast felt less like a beast and more like a small creature. Its slower pacing felt refreshing initially but soon started to burn out as I thought the length of the song would become too much for this style. Everything turned around during the halfway mark then another sharp turn during the final act which built up into the confident end that the record needed.
Science Fair Peepshow gets a lot right while falling short in some areas. All of the moving pieces come together in unison, while sometimes feels disjointed. What would benefit the band greatly is more diversity and not pulling back any punches. Younger groups tend to not go all out, but with more experience, I hope to see more confident experimentation out of the Southern rockers.
Buy the album here: Science Fair Peepshow
Image via Drug Money