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Bullfrog featuring Kid Koala: Bullfrog

When there is no “Extra Track I” before “Extra Track II,” and said extra track is the eighth track of a 17-song album, you know you are dealing with a smartass band. For better or worse, that’s what Bullfrog is, at least on the evidence of their self-titled LP (Ropeadope 93066; 47:38). When they’re bad, they sound lighthearted without being high-spirited and jokey without being funny. (Maybe it’s the straight-outta-Canada thing; humor has a way of getting stopped at the border.) Bullfrog is further hampered by a fake MC called BluRum 13, who spits complicated yet meaningless similes in a painstakingly casual drawl that makes you want to find whatever stage he is performing on and slap him. Yet sometimes Bullfrog stifles its cheesily sardonic impulses and creates true funk workouts like “Snakeskin” and “Hotel Food.” (The latter track showcases the guest artistry of turntablist Kid Koala, whose imaginative scratching enlivens the entire album.) You can’t recommend an album that gives BluRum this much mike time, but perhaps in the future Bullfrog will drop the goofy-stupid humor and really give us something to croak about.

Originally Published