Free and legal MP3: The Extraordinaires

Wry rocker w/ old-timey, theatrical feel

The Extraordinaires

“The Big Show” – The Extraordinaires

With the oompah feel of a music-hall standard, “The Big Show” dresses its quizzical take on 21st-century life in a ramshackle aural stew as musically charming as it is lyrically caustic. Look no further than the opening salvo to see what we’re in for:

We say it like it’s true then watch it put down its roots
And blossom from the gossip into truth
We’re in the weeds up to our knees
It’s hard to tell the poison from the fruit

The chorus, meanwhile, has an uncomfortable resonance with the news we’ve been watching this week:

Look out below
The whole damn thing’s about to blow
Gone are all the good days but hey
At least we get to watch the show

We’ve got here a corollary to the happy music/sad lyrics phenomenon that pop can handle like no other kind of music—this is more like comic music/tragic lyrics but the underlying incongruity is the same, as well as the appeal. Singer Jay Purdy has the air of a mischievous master of ceremonies, and a voice somewhat resembling John Linnell from They Might Be Giants. Which adds to the whimsical vibe. Oh and be sure not to miss the last 40 seconds, which sounds as if we have landed in a cartoon. All we need to top it off is Porky Pig saying “Th-th-th-at’s all, folks!”

The Extraordinaires began as a duo in South Philly in 2004. They had expanded to a quartet by 2007, and in 2010 solidified into a five-man band. They have previously released albums that were produced as books bound in masonite (think of what a clipboard is made of; that’s it). “The Big Show” is a song from the band’s new three-song EP, Postcards, released on the Philadelphia-based label Punk Rock Payroll.

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