The Canadian Juggalo Weekend

On the days of April 7th and 8th 2017, the Marquee Beer Hall in Calgary, Alberta was the scene of the first ever Canadian Juggalo Weekend. From all across this great northern nation and beyond, painted faces converged on Cowtown to revel in the frenetic madness that is the Juggalo world.

Featuring live JCW Wrestling, carnival freak shows, and countless live music acts including the likes of Swollen Members, Onyx, 2-Live Crew and the one and only Ice T, each night was capped off in the blaze of Faygo drenched glory that only the Insane Clown Posse can provide. Night one featured a cover to cover performance of their seminal album, ‘Riddle Box’, while night two featured a raucous ‘hits’ show—both with more than enough Faygo to drown several dunk-tank carnies.

As if that wasn’t enough, each night included an after party, which saw ICP back on stage again to play the Juggalo equivalent of an acoustic set (sans Faygo) of rarely played songs like ‘I Get Mad’, ‘Get Off Me Dawg’, ‘Falling Apart’, ‘Santa Claus…’, and ‘Everybody Rize’. Needless to say, this made quite the impression on the eager Juggalos in attendance.

Of course, like any event put on by Psychopathic Records, the main event highlight was the Juggalo Family itself. If Juggalos live up to their reputation as a wild and crazy bunch, so too do they stay true to their own creed as a supportive and inclusive group of nut-jobs who would be hard pressed to fit in anywhere else besides an event such as this. Playful chants, wild mosh pits, crowd-surfing wheelchairs, and a greater sense of kinship and camaraderie than you’ll find at most real family reunions made the weekend a special treat both for those long acquainted with the ICP and their Juggalos, and first-timers alike.

While far from an inclusive list, much love goes to our good friend Hal for showing the gumption to check the scene out, and to Rick and Kim for being such fine compatriots and outstanding representatives of the Juggalo world. Much love to ICP and all of Psychopathic Records for bringing their one of a kind madness to Canada.

For so many songs and memories I could never have anticipated, and will now never let go, much clown love goes to ICP, Psychopathic Records, and the entire Juggalo world.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Greatest Hits of Brad OH Inc.

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc., we’ve been sharing regular content since late 2012, and over the years we’ve covered countless invaluable topics in great depth. In fact, there are now four distinct categories (Link) on offer for our readers—each with a unique voice and subject matter.

Today, we want to take the opportunity to review and revisit some of the very best articles we’ve put out over the years. Below, you’ll find our own personal Top 10 List, conveniently broken down by category. You can click the banner of each to go directly to that category, or you can click the title of each article to navigate there and read it in full.

 Under the Green Desk Lamp:

Green Desklamp

Bourbons by the Fire: A brief, stream of consciousness piece about vision and purpose. In this article, we explore the state of the world, and our individual power to change it.

Bullying in the Supermarket: This piece is an exploration of the culture of bullying, exploring the mixed messages of a world which tells children to be kind, while holding no such expectations for its adults, business leaders, or media.

Profits and Prophets: Over the past decade, many of the greatest disasters, losses, and threats we’ve faced have centered around two specific homonyms: Profits, and Prophets. We explore this notion here.

The Metaphorical Imperative- Part 1, and The Metaphorical Imperative- Part 2: The ‘Metaphorical Imperative’ is one of the most fundamental ideas behind Brad OH Inc., and will soon prove to be among the defining themes in one of our biggest upcoming projects. These two articles take an in-depth look at this essential philosophy.

 Purely Speculation:

purelyspeculation

On The Concept of Society: In this article, we establish and explore a basic understanding of society based on human history and contemporary needs. If we are to endeavour to consider changes to society, it is imperative that we first define our terms and understand exactly what we mean by the word.

Saving the World 101: How can we harbour hope for the future when the current situation often seems so dire? In this post, we discuss exactly what hope we may find for the future, and exactly what it would take to get us there.

The Global Scale: In ‘The Global Scale’, we pull our perspective back a bit to educate the reader about how interconnected the world truly is. If the decisions of one nation inevitably effect the rest, then we must take this global perspective into account any time we seek to make changes. Here, we reveal exactly what’s going on behind the scenes on the Global Scale, and exactly what sort of opposition the forces of progress are up against.

Requisite Things:

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpg

 A Call for Corporate Suffrage: ‘Corporate Suffrage’—what two words could be more heinous and detestable to any sober mind? Unless of course that mind happens to be focussed on the profits of its own Corporation—in that case, Corporate Suffrage seems pretty damn agreeable.

The New Corporate Religion of Brad OH Inc.: Here, we use our trademark Corporate perspective to push the notion of ‘Freedom of Religion’ as currently defined to its most vile extreme—specifically, Corporate Religion.

Gentleman Juggalo:

The Gentleman Juggalo Logo

The Juggalo Gang Designation Essay: Juggalos—the fanatical fans of the Insane Clown Posse—have been labelled an organized, hybrid gang by the FBI. In this article, we take those tools to task—elucidating not only what a miscarriage of justice this action is—but also establishing it as an unforgivable misdirection from federal accountability.

Collectively, these articles cover a fine spread of what we’ve put on offer over the years here at Brad OH Inc., and while it is certainly important to celebrate the past, it must not be taken to mean we don’t look to the future. Therefore, we invite all of you to let us know in the Comments below what your favourite articles have been, which categories you prefer, or if you have any specific topics you’d like to see us cover. After all, here at Brad OH Inc., we live to please!*

*This statement does not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of anyone at Brad OH Inc., and is not to be taken as legally, morally, or even tangentially binding.

-Brad OH Inc.

Advance Album Review: Kottonmouth King’s ‘Krown Power’

The Gentleman Juggalo LogoWhen I checked my inbox a few days back, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to find an invitation to review an advance-copy of the Kottonmouth Kings new album- ‘Krown Power’. A chance like this after only a few months actively reviewing albums? Nice work Fam!

The decision to seize the opportunity was immediate—after all, I’ve been a fan of the band since being introduced to their 2000 album ‘High Society’ via the ICP guest spot. Since then, I’ve followed the band’s unique sound—a psychedelic mix of hip-hop and punk rock—throughout their career. I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing them live on a number of occasions, including the Gathering of the Juggalos 2010 and 2012.

So there was no question about it—if I had the chance to review their new album ahead of its release date, I was jumping on the opportunity.

‘Krown Power’ will officially drop on August 28th, marking the band’s 14th studio album (EP’s and compilations bring the total significantly higher), which is a testament to their staying power to say the least. But that’s not all that’s interesting about this album.

KrownPower‘Krown Power’ will be available on August 28th.

Back in 2013, the band split from their long-time record label ‘Suburban Noize’ due to internal conflicts. A devastating challenge for any band, KMK took the split in stride, and went on to found their current label, ‘United Family Music’ in 2014. ‘Krown Power’ will be the band’s debut release on United Family Music, and also their first release since the departure of founding member Johnny Richter, who also left around the time of the Subnoize split.

With so much having changed, it’s only natural to feel some trepidation about what the future holds for this strange and undoubtedly pot-reeking crew of musical misfits. As it turns out, the future is not too dissimilar from the past, and that’s not such a bad thing either!

‘Krown Power’ is laced with all the familiar elements of a KMK release. The lead single ‘Ganja Glow’ would have no doubt sufficed to silence any doubts about the ongoing focus of the band. One thing is beyond question…KMK still love their weed. It’s been a cornerstone of the band since their days as the ‘Humble Gods’, and it remains the most consistent topic on ‘Krown Power’. In fact, they reinforce their heartfelt love of the herb on nearly every song, showing an impressive flexibility of praise that would be the envy of any proper ‘Worship Band’.

This is exhibited most succinctly in the penultimate song of the album, the aptly named ‘Mary Jane’. With echoes of the 2002 song ‘Rest of My Life’, ‘Mary Jane’ is undeniable proof that of all the countless artists who have ever proclaimed their own love to be the only one true and eternal, the love KMK have for the titular Mary Jane has stood the test of time far better than most.

Happily, the rest of the album doesn’t slouch either—despite the influence it was undoubtedly conceived under. Ranging from high-energy party songs like ‘Our City’ and ‘Fill Your Cup’, to the vintage sounding ‘Sink or Swim’, KMK show the sort of consistent diversity their fans have come to expect. ‘Fuck Off’ features the return of long-time collaborators Insane Clown Posse, with an opening verse by Shaggy 2 Dope which is sure to bring a nostalgic smile to the painted faces of any Juggalos listening.

Other standout tracks include ‘Pump up Da Bass’, ‘Don’t Feel Down’, ‘Ganja Glow’, and ‘Good Time Zone’—all but the last of which guest star the incredibly talented Marlon Asher. These tracks–and Marlon’s presence especially—bring a welcome reggae-influence to the album which is so perfectly fitting with KMK’s sound and passions that it seems a match made in reefer-heaven.

marlon-asherMarlon Asher adds to the album with his distinctive Reggae sound.

The kings would do well to hold onto this influence and make the most of his talents. And they may be—rumours circulate that Asher has been signed to the band’s nascent label ‘United Family Music’, but these remain unconfirmed at the time of press. Fear not however, Brad OH Inc. is currently working on an interview with the Kottonmouth Kings, and we’ll be certain to have more information for you about this promising new contributor once that drops.

At the end of the day, when you put on a KMK record you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting, and that remains true for their first release on ‘United Family Music’. If their storied love of pot has been of fairy-tale persistence, so too has their dedication to their particular craft. The reggae sound on this album works well for a more mature balance to the familiar themes, and results in an album which gives due reverence to the past, while also managing to remain focussed—albeit through blurry, bloodshot eyes—on the future.

-Brad OH Inc.

Fringe Fest Play Review- ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgLast Saturday I found myself skillfully navigating the crowded and popcorn reeking confines of the Edmonton Fringe Festival—lovely lady on my arm—in a hurried attempt to make it to the box-office in time. My friend Tom, the Stage Manager of the play I’d chosen to see, had advised me that advance tickets wouldn’t be strictly necessary, yet still an uneasy feeling mounted in my gut as I pushed through the mobs on the way to the PCL Studio Theatre.

As is often the case, my intuition had served me well—albeit late—and I arrived just in time to find the box office freshly out of tickets for ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’. Damn my luck! What sort of fringe fest play sells out on its opening weekend?

Well, this one by all evidence. ‘Rigby Muldoon’ sold out its opening night in fact—and every other night since!

Written by Robyn Slack and directed by Olivia Latta, ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’ is a noir-infused sci-fi comedy which tells the fascinating tale of aimless gamer-girl Annie Sinclair (Carina Morton), who is so desperate to undo the decisions of her past that she hires the services of the gritty and unabashedly noir-inspired time traveller: the titular Rigby Muldoon (Joshua Lee Coss).

Rigby And AnnieRigby Muldoon (Joshua Lee Coss) and Annie Sinclair (Carina Morton)

‘Rigby Muldoon’ was first test-read at Nextfest in June of this year, and only written in May. For such a relatively short turn-around time, the performance was impressively polished and professional—a 75 minute romp through time which brought consistent laughs to everyone in attendance.

While writer Robin Slack admits that the themes of the play are laid out on the table pretty early, the deft exploration of the subject matter keeps the audience guessing at several ongoing strands, while distracting like a skilled magician with a litany of jokes ranging from time-travel idiosyncrasies, to complex call back humour and even several plays at retro-inspired nostalgia (not limited to a Coolio reference!).

The tone of the show is unapologetic in its passionate dedication to what’s come before it—it’s innately chrono-conscious after all. The heavy noir imagery and attitudes manage to work incredibly well alongside the throwback video game references and 90’s irreverence which the cast find themselves mired in.

To give some context to the menagerie of mad settings and insightful writing you might find here, one stand-out scene involved a laser-tag shootout which served not only to make some key advances to the storyline, but also to utterly—and hilariously—tackle the concept of ‘trolling’. Take notes kids!

Of course, the humour isn’t limited to 90’s culture and unexpected twists: every facet of the stage design, costuming, and acting serves to solidify the intentionally overblown themes and self-aware quips. It seems at times that each scene might fit as well in a play of a totally different genre—but ‘Rigby’ is one of a kind!

In fact, as I sat watching the show in silent admiration, I realized how unsurprising it was that it had sold out every night it’s been put on. With its non-stop laughs and impressively subtle twists, it is the undeniable progeny of an unrestrained love for all things nerdy, coupled with an innate understanding of the fundamentals of good storytelling.

Group-1Left to Right: Laena Anderson, Robyn Slack, Joshua Lee Coss, Carina Morton

Speaking before the show with Writer Robyn Slack, I was assured that the play’s performance had exceeded his expectations. If so, he may be well-advised to broaden them before considering the next step for ‘Rigby Muldoon’. Its abundance of humour works on all levels while managing to make room for enough essential character building moments to keep the audience affectionately engaged throughout. My showing ended with an extended standing ovation from the sold-out crowd, and I can scarcely imagine the ending is much different no matter what night you attend.

As of the time of this posting, there are only two showings left of ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’. You can catch it at the PCL Studio Theatre at the Edmonton Fringe Festival at the following times:

Saturday August 22nd – 8:45pm

Sunday August 23rd – 6:45pm

Just remember, unless you have the time-altering talents of the titular Rigby, you’d do well to learn from the mistakes of this writer and get your tickets in advance!

For More Info: Rigby Muldoon

-Brad OH Inc.

Album Review: Insane Clown Posse’s ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Found’

The Gentleman Juggalo LogoOn April 28th of this year, the Insane Clown Posse released their album- ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’. This album was the first part of the 3rd Joker’s Card of the Second Deck. That’s a lot of jargon to sort through, but we here at Brad OH Inc. have you covered—just read our review of ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’ (Link) to help you sort it all out.

For now, suffice it to say that ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’ was one half of the two-part series known as ‘The Marvelous Missing Link’. The titular ‘Missing Link’ refers to our internal link to belief—our connection to and faith in whatever keeps us on the right track.

As such, ‘Lost’ was an exceedingly dark album both sonically and thematically. It described the existential horrors of living with no grounded set of beliefs—no sense of purpose to keep one rooted in positivity or faith. In our review of that album (Link), we discussed how this desperate state was represented in the genesis of the Insane Clown Posse themselves (Link). More to the point, the formation of the band may have been the moment when Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope’s Missing Link was first ‘Found’.

This brings us to Part 2 of ‘The Marvelous Missing Link’—‘Found’.

The_missing_link_FOUNDClick image above to buy the album.

 ‘Found’ is a very different album from its predecessor, ‘Lost’. While ‘Lost’ focused on the absence of meaning in one’s life, ‘Found’ is the very opposite. With a theme of deliverance and hope, the positive basis of ‘Found’ is heard not only in its lyrics—which tend towards meaning and connection—but also in the sound of the album itself. Where ‘Lost’ was sonically a very dark and sinister record, dominated by industrial-loops and repetitive DJ scratches, ‘Found’ takes a different path entirely.

In fact, fitting to the subject matter, this release may stand as ICP’s most ‘mainstream’ sounding effort to date—with several songs (most notably the lead single, ‘Juggalo Party’) sounding not too dissimilar from the sort of jams you might expect in your typical nightclub. The content isn’t quite the same to be sure—it’s significant that this album sees the return of the Wicked Clown’s sinister sense of humour, which had been conspicuously absent on ‘Lost’—but the gentle rhythms and upbeat tempo provide for a much gentler aural experience.

Once again, this album has been produced without long-time collaborator Mike E. Clark. However, the now familiar team of Mike P, Michael ‘Seven’ Summers, Brian Kuma, and James ‘Young Wicked’ Garcia return to bring a fresh and effective sound to the album. The standout this time is ‘Seven’, whose smooth and flowing beats bring a reflective sense of peace to the album which is truly fitting for the subject matter at hand.

With the positive outlook and comforting tones of this album, the band is successful in bringing their audience a fun and reassuring experience. Song topics range from parties with friends, comfort in belief, and appreciating the time we have; all fitting well with the theme of the album. Others seem slightly less on point however, with songs such as ‘Lost at the Carnival’ or ‘Pineapple Pizza’ having little bearing on the overarching theme of the album, yet contributing in a broad Gestalt effect to deliver the familiar humour and style that the Juggalos demand.

‘Lost’ was certainly a more focussed album, never erring from its morose themes. ‘Found’ bounces around a bit more, providing for a more scenic if slightly distracted jaunt through many of the expected sights for those familiar with the band.

Similar to the track ‘Hell’s Forecast’ on the ‘Shangri-La’ album, the scattering of darker themed songs on this offering remind us how reticent ICP are to put out a wholly positive album. They know that the root of their fan base lies in ‘the Wicked Shit’ that started them off, and they are always more than happy to deliver. While this may ultimately mean that ‘Lost’ will stand as the greater artistic output of the two, ‘Found’ has an undeniable charm, and its positivity is unapologetically contagious—which is surely the point here.

Standout tracks include ‘OK’, ‘Lost at the Carnival’ (providing you have a system with good bass), ‘Juggalo Party’, ‘The World is Yours’, and ‘Time’. Other songs of note include the return to form ‘Shit-Talking’ song, ‘Get Clowned’, and the country-infused comedy track ‘Dreams of Grandeur’, which shows some heavy inspiration from their 2011 Jack White collaboration, ‘Mountain Girl’.

‘Mr. White Suit’ is something of a slow burner, but has been growing on me with repeated listens. The most direct ‘God’ allegory on the album, it’s a catchy track on its own, and an important departure from their standard fare of songs which does much to bring out the intended emotional effect of the album.

Still, while the narrative promise here was to explore the things which keep people connected to a sense of meaning or purpose, this album was less overt in its talk of higher powers than was ‘Lost’, particularly in the respective intros.

One important but subtle effort here is the distinction between the liner notes in each album. While ‘Lost’ was filled with images of violence and strife, in ‘Found’ we find images of friends and lovers, cooperation and progress. Similarly, while the Clowns (thankfully) avoid being too on the nose with their message, they do a good job throughout the album of incorporating themes of belonging and connection, while illustrating how little things such as friends, family, humour, and purpose can lift us out of the doldrums of a life devoid of meaning.

This mix of introspection and irreverence makes for a slightly off-focus, yet impressively poignant package. Too strong a focus on meaning may have left the album feeling heavy-handed. But by combining these topics with songs that are merely for fun, ICP accomplish their intentions with a more roundabout, show-don’t-tell delivery.

In our review of ‘Lost’ (Link), we explained why that album was not the one the Insane Clown Posse likely ‘should’ have released at the moment. ‘Found’ is much closer to that imaginary ideal. With its mix of upbeat bangers, comical irreverence, and anthemic crowd-pleasers, ‘Found’ is an album which—while it may not garner the level of media attention that 2009’s ‘Bang Pow Boom’ did (Link)—is certain to provide plenty of entertainment and meaning to the Juggalos.

And what better testament of success for this album? For just as the band itself acted as the ‘Missing Link’ for two young men in inner-city Detroit, so too have their musical efforts been the ‘Missing Link’ to countless people since—people who often have little else by way of meaning or purpose in their lives. To the Juggalos, the Insane Clown Posse have always been an opportunity to find that sense of purpose, and to that end, ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Found’ is a terrific success.

-Brad OH Inc.

Album Review: Insane Clown Posse’s ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’

The Gentleman Juggalo LogoOn April 28th, 2015 Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J celebrated his 43rd birthday. This is no trivial accomplishment. With a childhood steeped in gang violence and accentuated by poverty, Violent J (aka: Joseph Bruce) may be lucky to have made it even beyond 20.

But something happened along the way which changed Violent J’s life forever. He formed a band. Along with his childhood friend Joey Ustler (aka: Shaggy 2 Dope), J built the Insane Clown Posse from the bones of defunct street gang Inner City Posse.

On October 18th, 1992, ICP released their debut full length album, ‘Carnival of Carnage’. The first in an album series known as the ‘Joker’s Cards’, ‘Carnival’ set ICP onto their lifelong musical odyssey. The Joker’s Cards are a series of thematic albums, each revealing some aspect of the listener’s inner-self—they display moral quandaries and psychic terrors like so many carnivalesque freak-shows.

Since then, ICP’s career has stood as a blazing contradiction to the ‘mainstream’ music industry. With the formation of their record label, ‘Psychopathic Records’, Joe and Joey have created an underground industry for themselves, bringing up countless other acts along the way.

With this sense of purpose, the lives of these two Detroit youth have morphed from nightmares to dreamscapes. Both describe their lives now as being filled with all the happiness and fulfillment they could have ever dreamed of. For more information about the genesis of the Insane Clown Posse, see the Brad OH Inc. article ‘Circular Journey’ (Link).

This all brings us back to April 28th—as this year, Violent J’s birthday also marked the release of the 3rd Joker’s Card of the second deck—‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’.

indexClick image above to buy the album.

‘Lost’ is only one half of ‘The Missing Link’, with the other half—‘Found’—dropping later this year, on July 31st.

Like all Joker’s Cards, there is a very specific theme behind ‘The Missing Link’. As a whole, ‘The Missing Link’ refers to our internal link to belief—our connection to and faith in whatever keeps us on the right track.

Specifically, ‘Lost’ is about the experience of having no belief. Its dark tales tell of loss, death, and torment—the experience of any soul living in such a depraved world without any belief to buffer against the daily anxieties of such a life.

With tracks such as ‘Lost’, ‘Apocalypse’, and ‘Vomit’ painting hellish stories of misplaced anger and suffering, ‘Lost’ is accordingly one of the darkest albums the Clowns have ever released.

Without long-time producer Mike E. Clark at the helm, ICP have instead placed their faith in the talents of Psychopathic collaborators Mike P, Michael ‘Seven’ Summers, Brian Kuma, and one of the label’s up-and-coming stars, James ‘Young Wicked’ Garcia. This results in a daring change to the sound. While every album has certainly represented a significant shift in musical style—ICP have continued to explore their artistic range even after nearly 25 years together—this stands as one of the most radical departures for the group yet.

Marked by the heavy use of DJ scratching and industrial-style bass drops, the backing tracks are fast and heavy—contributing an often frantic pace to an album about the madness of lacking a sense of purpose. The disc plays at times more like a soundscape than an ordered collection of songs, with lyrics often sampled and repeated over and over—the usual raps slipping on many occasions into something closer to a Gregorian chant. In this way, the album is reminiscent of ICP protégé-band Twiztid’s stellar 2009 release- ‘W.I.C.K.E.D.’.

Garcia’s efforts deserve special credit here. Contributing many background vocals and several choruses including on the songs ‘How’ and ‘I See the Devil’, Garcia brings a fresh and welcome sound to the album—acting often as the distant voice of hope amidst the dark rumblings of ICP’s verses.

ICP’s delivery here is significant as well. While never competing amongst the most technically skilled rappers, the Clowns have always turned out crisp lyrics meshing well with their energetic beats. Not here. While frantic at times, the beats seldom flirt with anything close to ‘energy’—opting rather for a more frenetic, plodding, and often vulgar feel.

ICP’s raps follow suit perfectly. When not stuck in repetitive loops, the lyrics often come in disjointed bursts, as if being made up on the spot by a mind too occupied with more pressing concerns. This is especially noticeable in the song ‘Shock’, and fits well with the theme of being unable to control your own deranged impulses, despite how off-putting it can seem at first.

This attention to detail is consistent throughout the record.

While the intro can be somewhat brazen in its repetition, and even disturbingly overt in hammering the point home—it does much to illustrate the earnest message behind this brooding album: Find something to believe in, or risk being lost. Despite this theme however, the album does little to provide any idea of just what one should believe. If internet memes are to be believed, ICP are a couple of evangelical Christians, and thus the easy conclusion would be faith in the Christian God.

But you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet, and this is a perfect example. While the ultimate message of how to find your way will inevitably be addressed on ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Found’, a recent interview in ‘The Detroit News’ did a good job showing the flexibility of Violent J’s views on the matter:

“Faith, for ICP, isn’t about any particular religion; Bruce admits he’s never read the Bible. It’s about finding something to believe in, whether that’s in one’s relationship with their spouse, their children or with art.” (Source).

But this isn’t to say that ‘Lost’ is entirely bereft of guidance. Several songs cover the issues of false beliefs—Money, Sex, Power, and other such temptations which distract people from finding a true sense of purpose. In ‘Vomit’, ICP tell the stories of two people who used sex and money respectively as their guiding principles, and end up lost in the depths of hell as a result.

Notably missing from the album is the familiar sense of humour so ubiquitous to other ICP releases. The lyrics and concepts are consistently bleak, with only brief glimpses of hope in songs such as ‘How’, which laments the confusion of trying to live a decent life amid such lurid distractions.

The album is moreover barren of any deep metaphor—which of course requires belief, as covered in depth in the former Brad OH Inc. articles on ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’ (Part 1 and Part 2). In an indirectly humourous twist, the song ‘Falling Apart’ accordingly eschews metaphor entirely. It tells the story of a man literally falling apart—fingers and limbs snapping off as he tries in vain to keep himself together. The song is punctuated by a surprisingly earnest chorus, in which Violent J channels his inner Rock Star to ask ‘What’s become of me/ I’m falling apart…’.

It pays off wonderfully.

The rest of the album plays out as a series of macabre stories and scenarios depicting the pitfalls of a life devoid of meaning. In stark contrast to most other ICP albums, the protagonist’s endeavours seldom end well, as evidenced in the song ‘Flamethrower’, where the Clown’s characters are ultimately killed. This subtly negative detail is similar to many songs from the group’s 2004 release, ‘Hell’s Pit’.

To me, one of the especially interesting things about this album is that it’s really not the album ICP probably ‘should’ have made at this point. Based on the huge surge of mainstream attention they garnered from songs like 2009’s ‘Miracles’, contrasted against the comparatively underwhelming reception they’ve received in the last few years, it would have made commercial sense to create a much more goofy album; ripe for public lampooning.

Instead, the Clowns opted to make a brazenly sincere album, focused on earnest meaning with a great sense of personal introspection. In theory, it’s the ‘wrong’ album to release just now, and that’s part of what makes it so damn interesting.

‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’ is a daring album and bold new direction for ICP. Its heavy themes and plodding delivery often make for an uncomfortable listen, but that’s just the point. As is their wont, ICP have focused very intently on creating an LP that fits with their own artistic priorities rather than mass-appeal. This shouldn’t be surprising, as the band itself may be seen as the very ‘Link’ which raised Joe and Joey away from the fate of most children born to inner city poverty and set them on their purposeful path to happiness and fulfillment.

‘Lost’ is a dark, moody album. It’s not going to cheer anyone up, and this era in ICP’s career may be remembered as one of the least traditionally pleasant—challenging us with a barrage of negativity before moving on to the inevitably lighter tone of the ‘Found’ album. But ‘Lost’ does provide an important impetus for all of us to consider what really matters in our lives. It’s imperative that we take the time to recognize and cherish these things. Otherwise, our own Missing Link may never be ‘Found’.

The_missing_link_FOUND‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Found’ is out on July 31st, 2015.

A Note to the Reader: This is the first ever album review from Brad OH Inc. We hope you’ve enjoyed this new avenue, and encourage all of our fans to reply in the comments section with their thoughts on the review, or suggestions for other albums to review in the future.

-Brad OH Inc.

Brad OH Inc.: Resolving Issues on Demand!

cropped-blogbanner1.jpgNow calm down. You haven’t gotten lost. We’ve redesigned the site a little, hoping to better meet the needs of our readers. One of the main motivations of this was to provide better access to the ‘Comment’ button, which you’ll now find represented by a speech-bubble directly to the right of the article title on the main blog page, or a text box at the bottom of the specific article page. You can use it right now to let us know what you think of the new look! This change is just a small example of our commitment to our dear readers, but that’s certainly not the full extent of it…

Here at Brad OH Inc., we’ve covered a lot of different topics over the years, and unquestionably solved a lot of important issues. With the ‘Under the Green Desk Lamp’ category, we’ve explored our deepest understandings of life and meaning through ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’, and also written a formal apology to our (potentially…) evil twin ‘Jeremy’.

The ‘Purely Speculation’ banner covers our exploration of all things political. Here, we’ve discussed the ‘Concept of Society’, and also did an in-depth expose on how current political trends have broader ‘Global Implications’.

Finally, our ‘Requisite Things’ topic has been used to forward our own Corporate agenda, with topics ranging from ‘Corporate Religion’ to the importance of ‘Corporate Security’.

That’s a pretty broad spread of topics we’ve put to rest, but what we here at Brad OH Inc. have been wondering is, what do you want? That’s right, today we’re reaching out to our readers, polling opinion to better understand what’s most in demand. Do you want to see more of any particular article type? Or maybe more of our ‘Single Serving Stories’? Well, for a limited time only, we’re open to your suggestions.

We have a lot of potential topics coming down the pipeline, along with some surprises totally unrelated. But being the caring and commercially motivated Corporation we are, we thought it only prudent to turn it over to you, our dear readers.

What type of article do you prefer? What key happenings would you like us to resolve for you and the rest of the world? If you have any general topic, or even a specific issue you’d like to see the infallible brain-trust at Brad OH Inc. elucidate, then leave your input in the comments via the link above. You never know…we just might answer!

-Brad OH Inc.