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The Swirling Eddies

Zoom Daddy

? 1994
4 stars out of 5
by Dan Macintosh

Just when you though it was safe to go in the water again kiddies, the Eddies are back and Swirling, the undertow is in overdrive, and these daddies are zooming. led once more by that heady Eddy Terry Taylor, along with the same cast of musical characters (sans the silly nicknames) this release is a third time for charm, although the Swirling Eddies always seem to secrete their own uniquely strange charm.

Isn't it ironic that atheists have trouble believing in God, while Taylor -- who wrote all of this album's lyrics -- is able to excavate metaphors for (and examples of) the divine from some of the downright oddest places? Consider for a moment some of Zoom Daddy's song titles: "Pyro sets a Wildfire"... "I Had A Band Experience With the C.I.A. And Now I'm Gonna Show You My Feminine Side"... "(Disco) Love Grapes." All of these could easily pass as episode names for Beavis * Butthead. And while our favorite cartoon juvenile delinquents would surely chuckle when Taylor sings the lyrics for "Some Friendly Advice" even these small animated brains would pick up on some of the larger, more spiritual meanings in this song, which suggests that "forgiving a friend and an enemy too" is "something just a little bit different for you." Such friendly advice is also quite wise.

I laughed out loud at the lyrics for "Art Carney's Dream" before I even heard the song. And what works on paper, sounds even better when put to music. Art Carney is best known for his rols as Ed Norton the sewer worker in the classic comedy series The Honeymooners. The song describes a dream Norton has of sneaking into heaven. His reaction upon seeing God is much like ours would be -- "Well what could I do, your beauty broke my heart," as well as coming off uniquely Norton-esque, "wanted to crawl back in my man-hole then/Cause I was stinking to high Heaven." The comedic bits stand well against the song's more serious lines, since it is comic to think God wants stinkers like you and me in Heaven.

It would be foolish to over-simplify comedy but there is always a little of the painful side of life in all great humor. It's cliche to speculate that all great commedians suffered unhappy childhoods, but at the same time, it's those glimpses of reality that sneak out through comedic bits that ultimately give them their bite. This underlying realism is what raises Swirling Eddies above being just another joke band.

But if listeners still miss the points in these funny morality skits, Taylor has included here one of his most gripping songs "the Twist" which is not at all about dancing, but is instead a detail rich description of Christ's death on the cross. "Nail me down, break the skin/Hard enough to do me in/But dont leave me hanging/Dying and dangling/Twisting in the wind."

With Zoom Daddy, Swirling Eddies prove once again they still have a joke or two up their Swirling sleeves. But if you read between the one-liners, you'll find that comedy is not always pretty.

CCM Magazine September 1994
by Bruce A. Brown

For those of you who wondered what Christian Rock's resident curmudgeon has been up to, Terry Taylor has re-grouped both his bands to release a whopping 26 songs (between two albums). Taylor writes mostly about how he views the church (that's us, folks) responding or not resonding to society. But he's always quick to first lay blame at his own doorstep. BibleLand opens with a track called "Broken Ladders to Glory," wherein Taylor refers to what might well be himself and his wife as a "ravaged nun" and a "greasy priest;" the flaws begin at home, in other words. In "The Bubble Bursts," Taylor issues a reminder to those who would deify him that "I let you down and I'll do it again" but asks forgiveness "If my humanity causes you some pain." On the title track, Terry uses the metaphor of a dilapidated religious theme park to poke contemporary Christianity in the eye; among other things, this twisted playground includes "a leper and a Christian book store" and "a Christian rock band by the Wailing Wall." To underscore the incisive lyrics, DA offers a musical attack that's extremely raw and grunge-y in spots; excellent engineering by Gene Eugene plays up the tripple guitar attack of Taylor, Greg Flesch and Jerry Chamberlain.

Zoom Daddy - well, it's just a leetle strange/weird/unusual (insert your own adjective here). Musically, the album veers between surf music from Mars and the soundtrack to a James Bond film. I've always thought of Terry's humor as floating somewhere between Monty Python and the National Enquirerl; song titles like "Nightmare at the Elk's Lodge," "Art Carney's Dream" and "Disco Love Grapes" would seem to support that hypothesis. But Taylor never lets satire get in the way of making some serious points. "God Went Bowling," for instance, while offering a silly set-up, nails you in the last verse - "We want an infinite meddler/A fix-it-quick man/But he gets off His hight horse/Gets dirt on His hands." "Some Friendly Advice" may be the apex of Taylor's mix of puns and poignancy; over a herky-jerky beat, Terry recites suggestions like "Read the Good Book/Try a sly hook/Go to confession/Learn a lesson" and of course, "Do your duty/Shake your booty." And to what does the title track refer? It's a clever metaphor for the Rapture, with the children's cry of "Olly Oxen Free" our trumpet call. So, this musical medicine comes Taylor-made in two flavors; choose the one you like best - either way, you'll feel better for having taken it.