Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing) BMG
This album answers a question no one was asking: Is Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls still alive? The British bassist (played by comedian Harry Shearer) is attempting a comeback with his solo debut at age 77, and the result is so bad it’s funny. Actually, it’s hilarious.
The sludgy arrangements are thick with every cliché known to metal, from the opening flute to a recitation and brass fanfare, followed by boogie beats, operatic female vocals, syrupy strings and hysterical solos. All that’s missing is an umlaut.
Equally predictable is the subject matter, which ranges from Satan’s hairline (Hell Toupee) to cellphones as a pain in the rear (Butt Call, bringing the backside to the forefront as the Tap’s Big Bottom once did).
An impressive supporting cast includes Donald Fagen, David Crosby, Rick Wakeman and Dweezil Zappa.