Album Spotlight: ‘Debbie From Zumba’ by Playboy Manbaby

by Carly Schorman

There’s no denying the fact that Playboy Manbaby has shaped out a sound all their own over the years. An ever-evolving sound, sure, but still within the parameter of their unique aesthetic. If I had to distill it down to a recipe, it would be five parts fun, three parts art punk, two parts community, one part weird uncle you only see at holidays, and one part cold-seething-justifiable-rage-turned-lunacy.

Fans of the band should be celebrating because Playboy Manbaby released a new 5-track cassette at Gracie’s Tax Bar on February 29th. If you missed the party, sucks to be you, but you can still score the EP on Bandcamp. And, I don’t know about you, but Debbie from Zumba belongs in my collection. I need it. In fact, I just ordered it.

The cassette opens with “Car on Fire” which is a bit anxiety inducing for people who were recently in a terrible car accident (Thanks Robbie). Truth be told, this number might be anxiety inducing for anyone listening from within the clutches of contemporary society. But, just like the song says, “Everybody’s dancing with a shattered spine,” that’s the sense that you get listening. No matter how beat down the world’s got you feeling, there’s still enough life left in you to thrash around and dance.

“I Wish My Brain Was A Computer” rolls through next with its lamentations against the limitations of our own minds. The forgetfulness, the bad moods and bad attitudes, and, of course, the blatant disregard our brains seem to show to our own good ideas.

Next up, we have “Horses” which feels like a real moment in the PBMB musical history. Like, a momentous moment. There’s just something about this song that marks another point of change. An accumulation of all these erratic elements that make up the band: the call-and-response, the disappointment and frustration of a generation that can’t find a path to overcoming the inertia of their still-living predecessors.

“High-End Condos” crashes through with warnings of rising rental costs and arts districts turned yuppie encampments overnight before “Mulligan” closes out the album on with another danceable downer.

At five bucks for the cassette, Debbie from Zumba will help you purge the post-modern pain for a lot less than a therapist…. not that you should stop seeing your therapist. The EP was recorded at Audioconfusion and is also available on CD or digi-download through Bandcamp so make sure you secure your own copy ASAP.

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