Kirby Krackle returns with yet another awesome album, Mutate, Baby. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last two albums, E for Everyone remains my favorite, and this album feels very much like a direct line from that one with stops along the way to incorporate new elements from the ones in between. It maintains the focus of obviously geeky topics but also incorporates more metaphorical statements. I hesitate to call it more mature or political because that implies that the other albums weren’t those things, but those terms aren’t that far off, either. It’s a little hard for me to pin down precisely, but I think Kyle’s statement on my podcast that it’s about the “future of geek culture” seems about right.
Let’s take the opening track of the album, “The Days My Powers Arrived,” as an example. It’s pretty clear from the title that this is about a comic book superhero, possibly some sort of mutant. But upon listening to the lyrics, it becomes obvious that it’s meant as a metaphor for discovering one’s own strengths, whether they’re “superpowers” or not. A similar track is “Your Titan Is Ready” which is about Titanfall. But again the Titan is a metaphor for fear of the future, of what we might be capable of. We don’t know what the future will bring when we put ourselves out there to help others, but it’s usually best to do it anyway (and if I’m completely missing something based on the actual game, then please forgive my ignorance since I’ve never actually played it).
Then we come to the most provocative title on the album: “Geek Culture Is Dead.” It’s hard to read that and not be immediately taken aback. Didn’t the geeks inherit the earth? Actually, that’s pretty much exactly what the song’s about: despite what some people say, geek culture isn’t really dead, it’s just transformed into general pop culture. And it’s better to be on the side of those who embrace it than those who tell everyone to get off their lawn (although, I admit, I definitely have some of that in me, too…). In a similar vein is the title track. Should we stay where we are and just stagnate, or should we “Mutate, Baby”? We nerds won, let’s embrace it and welcome all the new people to our tribe.
Now, that’s not to say that all of the songs are quite so serious. In fact, probably two of the silliest Kirby Krackle songs are on this album: “Frank the Pocket” and “Dancing Baby Groot.” The latter is obviously inspired by the mid-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy. Both songs are very danceable, and I have a feeling they’ll be showing up in live shows quite frequently. “Frank the Pocket” is about a sentient pocket with a button friend named Trevor and a zipper for a girlfriend. Like I said, silly. But fun!
Now, I realize I’m a little late to the party with this review since the album came out almost three months ago. Which means there’s a good chance you’ve already bought the album. But if you somehow have managed to make it this long without doing so, you really should just go grab it now. It’s an excellent addition to the oeuvre of the originators of Nerd Rock.