Ball of Wax 66 Songs: Tom Dyer & The True Olympians – “It’s Mud”
The last time I reviewed a song by Tom Dyer & the True Olympians, I closed it by calling the song “just damn fun” and heck if they haven’t done it AGAIN. I still don’t know where Tom Dyer finds the time to be involved in so many projects (most of which bear his name and all of which seem to have come from the playful end of the rock strata before bouncing through the various sands, soils, and waters of the rushing effluent and digging in among the sediment of Dyer’s own delta of joyous madness), but I’m thankful he does!
“It’s Mud” is a wild ride through that very delta, a pop song treading the depths of the aural spectrum where the bass, drums, guitar, and even Dyer’s vocal beat the bedrock like it’s the final barrier to getting every last ass in the place out of its seat and wagging with the rhythmic rumble of the sonic flood. Joe Cason has his hands full keeping this tectonic leviathan from cracking through to the mantle, but his electric piano does so admirably (love the way everything sinks away at the end, leaving only the keyboard to remind you that some things can never stay submerged) and gives the beat a touch of syncopation.
Tom Dyer’s vocals are always a blast, but on “It’s Mud” he sounds more like a man possessed than I think I’ve heard, hooting, hupping, and growling every lung-collapsing line in a frenzied competition with the True Olympians’ guest artist, one Arrington de Dionyso, who takes the title of the song as literally as possible and all but blows his bass clarinet to bits (gods bless the little reed that pulled off the Herculean task of being channeled from one to the other of its instrument’s four-plus octave [I’m including overblowing because I’ve heard other de Dionyso material and the man favors pushing his woodwinds to and often beyond their limits]). In fact, Dyer gives his guest complete freedom and lets de Dionyso exorcise every spirit in the immediate vicinity, clearing the nooks and crannies in double-tracked stereo glee (I hope, anyway—otherwise there’s a lot more black magic happening here than bargained for) for 30 seconds before the band explodes into action, at which point his guest kicks into high gear, coming up for air maybe twice over the next three minutes.
As a whole, “It’s Mud” is spiritually and emotionally (and almost physically) cleansing, washing over everything in a deluge of delirious sound, and Levi’s choice to close this volume of Ball of Wax with it is simply inspired. In fact, this has been one of my favorite volumes yet, and each time “It’s Mud” ends, I have to catch my breath and shake off the silt before realizing that another spin of this whole Ball of Wax is desperately needed.