Fish Karma: Halloween in America (Alternative Tentacles)

For a period in excess of one score and five years, Karma has commanded the fealty of listeners from Tucson, as well as those far afield, as a troubadour and gentleman. A songwriter, satirist and, ahem, singer of no small regard, Karma has become known to dozens for archly humorous and succinctly eloquent compositions such as "Swap Meet Women" and "Die Like a Dog."

Karma is a fucking Tucson icon, and his latest album, Halloween in America, contains some of his best material. Fish ain't no stand-up (although he has plied that trade), nor is he a mere novelty singer, parodist or purveyor of "outsider" music. He's an honest-to-goodness topical singer-songwriter, gifted with a sense of the absurd, an unforgiving morality and the ability to ferret out hypocrisy.

That Karma sounds as unique as he does—purposefully tuneless, his voice a keening whine perpetually on the verge of becoming a hysterical wail—only enhances the righteous indignation with which he views the world.

A few tracks on Karma's latest are LOL gems, such as "My Parents Are Having a Party," in which he revels in the abject horror faced by a kid while his folks' party grows out of bounds. And on "Clowns Again," he details the sordid revelation that his gal is sexually involved with clowns. That lyric about her pretending to fellate a mime in the bathroom? Brilliant.

The hits keep coming: the title track, "Bohemian Grove Rhapsody," "All Roads Lead to Tucson" and "Pink-Eyed Dog," 97 seconds of Dylanesque nonsense about Nick Drake.


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