“The Way Things Work” by The Unknown Instructors

Artist: The Unknown Instructors
Title: “The Way Things Work”
Label: Smog Veil Records
Release Date: 9/20/2005
Genre: Fusion/Jazz/Rock
Rating: 3/5

“The Way Things Work” is the debut album by the Unknown Instructors which by their label are listed as a Punk-Jazz-Rock Experimental Super-Group and if you think that the specification is a lot to absorb just wait until you hear what’s happening on the CD. The sound is unlike anything that I had ever heard and that’s because it blends the elements of Jazz with Punk and also freeform spoken word poetry which when blended together deliver something that is not easily enjoyed or even understood with one simple listen. The fascinating project finds Mike Watt on bass, George Hurley on drums, Joe Baiza on guitar, Dan McGuire on vocals with special guest Jack Brewer offering up additional vocals. According to the press release that I dug up when listening to the album the entire release was recorded during one involved four hour session and all of the vocals were improvised. This made it rather interesting to absorb because how does one define good or bad on something where so much creativity is pulling the musical understanding into different shapes and forms that are not often done together. This might not be something for everyone, but I feel those lovers of the Progressive vibe might be open to it or those who lean to the extreme Avant-garde Experimental sort of things. As I mentioned this piece of music cannot be clearly understood after a single listen and I myself had spun it several times before I even had any semblance of an idea about it. I think if you are someone who appreciates those who bring difference to the musical table might enjoy it the most while those who have a clear genre classification that they abide by should give this a pass. They wouldn’t get it nor be expected to.

The packaging for this one while very eco-friendly, was also very interesting based on the artwork that adorned the cover. It features a disassembled water heater with all the parts labeled and when the listener opens up the digipak they see a similar blueprint for the inside of a toilet tank, but it names the band as its parts and the back lines out the songs against the visual of an unassembled faucet. That was very different when it came down to it. There is no booklet to speak of and I actually had to say that I enjoyed its quirky and minimalist design. If conventional musical themes no longer do it for you then by all means dig into the Unknown Instructors for they might serve your needs very well.

Track Listing:
1. I’ll Show You Everything
2. Where You Find It
3. Punk (is Whatever We Made It to Be)
4. Something Eternal
5. Starving Artists
6. The New Bluesman
7. Punch Out “The Layoff Gratuity”
8. Walk With Me
9. Creature Comforts
10. An Evening In Hell
11. Scansion
12. Adam’s Apple
13. Turf Songs
14. I Think
15. Lost And Found

Official Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_Instructors

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