Boom Dot Bust Reviews

A Review from Cat Simril

Within Fireworld, it is different to talk about. The more you see of the process, the less relavence your opinion has to the audience, the ville in villain, the known gnome.

Words escape quanta of indifference and proliferate.The kudzu is loose. Lois Lane tries on capes. Boom Dot Bust is as mythic as hubris and as topical as the latest dot com billionairesse. The lads started out as the Oz Firesign Theatre on the radio in 1966. They're back in Oz now with the tornado bearing down on them. They're still audio wizards, but is this Kansas? Sing, Satchmo, sing, and that Baron Ellington boy, let him play along.

They've long talked about making albums that were like music, that you'd listen to over and over: The Beatles of comedy, et al. This album may well be their Sgt. Pepper. Phrases dance into your brain bringing you sudden insight, like putting on a pair of glasses and seeing clearly for the first time in your life: Oh, that's where we are - that's how bizarre this is - the vast world of weirdness suddenly clear to you. Instead of telling you what's wrong with the USA today, they grind glasses for you to discover for yourself. As with all their work, they make you glad you have a brain, and don't have to ask a wizard for one. I found Boom Dot Bust their most musically coherent album to date. Bergman recently mentioned their plays as symphonies and this is a tuneful treat - can't wait to hear it in DVD. I particularly liked the Steely Dan-like Billville theme and Johnny Vacation's jazz.

"Isn't stupidity hilarious?" is the theme of most comedy, looking down at all the poor folks who just don't get it. The Firesigns build stairs to bring you up to their level and then sell you some real estate on their comedic peak.

In Seattle, Proctor had spoken about creating a new language for Billville (as if he doesn't know enough languages already); B.B has a virtual Malmberg in Plano of neologisms. A knowledge of Citizen Kane may do the listener some good but as always, their work goes in so many different directions, there's a gourmet feast for all possible pallets. Hunter Thompson used to talk about doing "Edgework" and that's what the 4/5 are up to here, on the edge in many ways. Some characters are tricksters and some thin parodies of real people (Marsha Glue-it reminds me of Joe Swine and all those car dealers who now dwell in the dustbins of historic trivia - you're better off not knowing who they were) but like all their best work, the greatest character is the 5th fireguy, the sum of all known parts and some that have yet to be invented. I listened to Boom Dot Bust while driving accross Saskatchewan a few weeks ago. A place to make you intensely aware of the fragility of civilization. When nature remembers to hate. A place of such beauty to alter the brain. Dwarf was on the radio when I left in '71 and now it'sBoom Dot Bust and wow, things have changed! And the Tao. And the Fire. Thirty three and a third years since they first started doing comedy together, the Firesign Theatre still define the medium. And seek to move it higher.


A Review from John Sulak of

For a bunch of old guys, the Firesign Theatre are sure on a roll. They've followed up 1998's Grammy-nominated Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death with Boom Dot Bust a mind-blowing comedy masterpiece set in the heartland town of Billville. The residents are all named Bill, and there's a long history of natural disasters and lynching politicians ("I am the mayor. Re-elect me or hang me! That's the will of Bill!"). The all-new cast of characters also includes the Elmers of Elmertown, lifestyle expert Martha Glueit, and global action-movie star Charlie Fatt. It's a CD-length story, told Citizen Kane-style through a hilarious labyrinth of infomercials, talk shows, flashbacks, specialty cable channels, and a sermon from Rev. Barnstormer of the First Reformed Church of Science Fiction. In other words, it is the Firesign Theatre doing what they do best. Those crazy guys have reached a new creative peak that will have people grinning with joy and laughing out loud. Customer Comments

The Mighty Congaroo from Donkey Dump, UT , October 26, 1999 writes:

Shiny! Shiny! Shiny!

Though not as overtly paranoid as "Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death", you can always count on the Firesign Theatre to provide lots of unique and oblique things to say to your friends. In just a short time I've started using "Hey that's my phone! And yeah, I'm gonna answer it!" and "I got the fiddlers agin". Their new album is a welcome trip down Tomato Alley to meet some new characters. Each has their own story to tell about the town where everyone is born to be Bill. And yeah, they're gonna tell it like it was. But ya better bunker down and be prepared for alliterative puns and other ways to play with your words. You can almost tell how good an album from the 4 or 5 crazee guys is GOING to be by how perplexed you are the first time you hear it. I was a-mighty bamboozled myself. One weekend of near-constant repeat and a worn down CD player later, this stuff is pretty damn funny. Pick it up if you can, have someone help ya out if you got the fiddlers. And remember what my fave character, Doc Imfermo always sez: "We're doomed."

A music fan from Moscow, Russia , October 19, 1999 sez:

The Firesign Strikes Again!

Boom Dot Bust surpasses all expectations as the Firesign scores another hit album. While some sections are totally insane and others are downright unintelligable, all of the precious minutes the listener spends on Boom Dot Bust are hilarious.

A review from Daniel Durchholz of CDNOW

The members of the Firesign Theatre just might be too smart for their own good. Of course, that's often been the case for the long-running comedy troupe, whose albums such as Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers and Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death are not so much collections of jokes as they are series of psychedelic, character-driven sketches.

That modus operandus is the case once again on Boom Dot Bust , a loosely told tale about Billville, a generic Midwestern town that's imperiled by tornadoes and corrupt citizens such as the mayor, the football coach, the town doctor, and a real estate developer. On the other side of the battle are "Elmers," a bunch of "diggers and squatters" who hung the town's first mayor from a flagpole and are determined to do it again.

The laughs are plentiful, but they're often buried deep in such things as twisted parodies of folksy, Midwestern sayings, such as, "Well, shift my organs!" A number of set pieces, such as "Dishnet Sports Wrap-up" with host Dink Shrinkwrap; an infomercial for the "Devilmaster by Infermco," a home exorcism machine; and "Kane!" a commercial for a martial-arts remake of Citizen Kane, are also inserted into the proceedings, and while they don't necessarily drive the piece forward, they're simply hilarious. The tagline for the "Kane!" commercial, for example, is, "Now it must be told again, because evil never dies, but copyrights expire."

Boom Dot Bust may require several listens to catch all its wild humor, but it's worth it. To borrow a saying from the Billville phrasebook, I'm not just jinkin' ya!

This "Review" by Dr. John Scialli

I don't really have a review but I'll stick my no-neck out:
I listened to Boom Dot Bust today under less than optimal conditions. Had to quickly dub it onto a cassette and listen in the piracy of my own car. At least I heard it straight through. First a comment on the slick packaging - very nicely executed and complementary to the story maze: I got my CD from Rhino mail order and for some reason they stuck a metallic anti-theft thingie *under* the plastic tray (i.e., stuck on the underside of the tray) such that it obscured the words, "The town that nature" from the slogan (which finishes "forgot to hate").

I feel shocked into a numbness of the brain with the amount of information and ATTITUDE this pupie contains. It is a dark vision of our future (which is part of our past I think I'm supposed to think). The characterizations are very dense and intense and people are worried. The bible's in there as are many other albums. There's more than a touch of roller maidens. The universe of A: Above: B-villers/ B: Below: Fuddettes is a fasten-ating prism indeed. Thank Elmer the whole thing is just a coda from an old episode of the Fishin' Magician.

By the way, on the back cover photo PA seems to be letting his finger do the talking, but at whom is he pointing that thing? Me? or Bergman?

and the First Official Review, by Richard Fish of LodesTone

Boom Dot Bust is a hysterically funny album. Keep that firmly in mind, because it's so much more than just a comedy album that any discussion of its wonders tends to sound way too serious.

Firesign Theatre fans, rejoice! You're going to love this one. But note (and anyone who is not familiar with Firesign's earlier work, be reassured) that the new album breaks new ground, and does not rely on knowledge of the group's earlier work. Whether you're discovering the group for the first time, or delighted to know that they're together again, Boom Dot Bust works beautifully. As usual, the more you hear it, the funnier it gets. The Four Or Five Crazee Guys are way beyond "back" - they're ahead of us, again as usual.

The audio production is superb. I can't wait to hear the DVD 5.1 surround sound mix, but even in stereo it's clear that repeated listenings will be an increasing pleasure to the ear as well as the mind. It will take a quite a few to catch all the loose diamonds in this rich mix!

So, what's it all about, Mr.& Mrs. John Q. Smith of Anytown, USA?

In their latest release, Boom Dot Bust , The Firesign Theatre performs open-chest surgery on the heart of America.

What their incision reveals is a treasure chest: stories, people, puns, thoughts, giggles, ideas, jokes, words, bellylaughs, phrases, satires, songs, commentary and audio images which fascinate and delight the mind, as a hoard of jewels dazzles the eyes. The concepts flash and course before your astonished attention so fast, the mental experience is, at first, a little like watching films as complex and fast-moving as "The Phantom Menace," "What Dreams May Come" and "His Girl Friday" all at the same time, on the same screen.

But don't be put off - not for a second. Find the time, adjust your attitude, leave plenty of room to double up, and listen. There are laughs in every layer, and there are lots of layers. Share it with your friends. Send a copy to your mayor.

Sure, it's all about the Midwest - in one sense. But the sun never sets on the shadow of the Stars And Stripes falling on the US Plus logo. In this latest album, the Firesigns have exposed the innards of American culture to the rest of the globe, ribbing open the cage that surrounds our heartbasket. It's as much about any US town as it is regional, and it's a ruthlessly, hilariously clear picture of the roots of America's cultural influence. Boom Dot Bust is a mature masterpiece.

You'll hear people you've met somewhere, voices you've heard somewhere, using the word-power of Bill Burroughs possessed by Bill Shakespeare, or vice versa. There's not a single unbroadcastable word, but it's still like South Park possessed by John Dos Passos. You'll be left with mental images that suggest Norman Rockwell possessed by Hieronymous Bosch.

What you'll be encountering, of course, are the insights, honesty, audio mastery and comic genius of The Firesign Theatre, possessed by themselves. Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Phil Proctor helped mold an American generation. As the millennium turns, they've given us a Boom Dot Bust of Uncle Sam more detailed than anything in the National Gallery.

And a helluva lot funnier!