Music » CD Reviews

The Button

10 Family Minutes (self-released)


The weird world of Paul Ryan, Sam Harmon, and Jay Kennedy has always been buoyantly confined to the midnight-hour chaos of their Sunday night radio show on WRUW-FM/91.1 called Press the Button. The program is a wild sound collage of sketches, skits, and shtick culled from everyday occurrences and noises strung together in an entertaining anti-talk radio scheme. As ambitious as the radio show is, the series of "Public Service Announcements" strung together on the Button's 10 Family Minutes stretches the trio's routine to its limits.

Fired off as messages from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," the full-length CD starts with a weird conception of God, who's had a rough week (creating and such) as he hurtles down an open elevator shaft. The strangeness continues through bits about highway signs (one that reads "You are now entering God's Kingdom," to which a booming-voiced God says to curious onlookers, "I like the sign") and closes with a vignette featuring Jesus himself wandering through a crowded mall, sporting a "WWID?" (What Would I Do?) T-shirt. All of which is strangely entertaining, but suffers from the monotonous Zappa-esque narration that goes flatly awry. 10 Family Minutes accomplishes what it sets out to do -- it will certainly irritate the humorless, agitate the religious, and "press buttons," but as entertainment, it suffers from a fairly dry delivery. Ultimately, though, if funny is what the Button is after (and that seems to be the case), it scores more often than not with this bit of conceptual psychosis.

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