Known for their outlandish, Amish-inspired costumes and boisterous live shows, the Hostile Omish originally intended to make their next release a live record. That way, the visual aspect of their humor would be better represented than it has been on the numerous cassettes and CDs they've released over the course of their 13-year career. Instead, the Cleveland band, which calls its music "barncore," went into Brooklyn's Audioworks studios and, in one take, re-recorded the songs on its first four cassette-only releases (Broken Buggy Wheel, Caution: This Buggy Makes Wide Right Churns, Quilted in Fascism, and Barncore). With simple punk guitar chords, these songs don't benefit from CD quality. But since they come from cassettes that are out of print, their re-recording at least makes them readily available, even if it doesn't mark an improvement in sound quality.
The group's album titles and ability to litter songs with irreverent references to Amish culture can hardly compare to "Amish Paradise," Weird Al Yankovic's hilarious send-up that sampled Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise." Still, the Hostile Omish, much like the Dead Milkmen or the Vandals, coin catchy choruses in songs such as "Lizard up My Butthole," "Who Put Sea Monkeys in Mom's Douche," and "Never Shake My Baby (My Fetus in a Jar)" that are screamed over punk rock guitar chords. While the Hostile Omish's shtick is funny at first, the joke quickly runs thin and isn't sustained over the course of 27 songs. But with a band that knows it's a joke -- "They already know they suck!" writes executive producer and technical consultant Jim Clevo in the liner notes -- there's really no point in criticizing the finer details of its music. The Hostile Omish will keep churning out the barncore, no matter what we say.
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