Hate Camels

Yuksters generally understand that if they set up a joke, they'd better deliver a punchline. But the Hate Camels, who'll introduce their new disc on Thursday, May 24, at the 15th St. Tavern, with help from Down by Numbers, apparently missed that day of clown college. The first six tracks here are named for a like number of deceased standups — a gambit that sets up expectations the all-instrumental group doesn't fulfill. As a result, listeners may feel disappointed even though the music is actually pretty interesting.

A for-instance? "Andy Kaufman" features a jazz-fusion-meets-prog groove and fine soloing by guitarist Dan Devine and theremin manipulator Geoff Cleveland — yet anyone who can figure out how it equates to Kaufman is a better man than I am, Gunga Din. And while the metallic opening of "Sam Kinison" will make sense to those familiar with the late comic's primal screaming, other connections are more vague, and trying to trace them detracts from the piece as a whole.

That's not very funny.


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