Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Born Stupid


Artist: Paul Leary
Label: Joyful Noise / Shimmy Disc
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 February 2021

Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers is back with his first solo record in over 30 years, Born Stupid is released via Joyful Noise and Shimmy Disc. Musically, Born Stupid largely steps away from the atomic punk energy and fuzzed-out metal riffing that defined the Butthole Surfers’ sound. Instead, Leary has crafted an equally compelling soundscape filled with carnival sideshow calliopes, spaghetti western guitar motifs, and off-kilter German beer hall waltzes...

The music on Born Stupid is memorable, but it's the lyrics that really grab your attention.

'Born Stupid', 'Do You Like To Eat A Cow' and 'Sugar is the Gateway Drug' are the three opening tracks, which all have an important message wrapped up in Leary's own sense of humour. And that's what sticks out most about this release. If you don't have a sense of humour and you don't like to have your mind opened to some of the bizarre elements of the world which have just become common place (like eating processed meat and having almost all our food pumped full of sugar) then you're probably going to wish you'd never jumped down the rabbit hole.

Once you've laughed yourself stupid... and then reflected on the serious message the lyrics actually convey, you'll be drawn into the vintage fairground sounds and other familiar oddities. Then, lyrics aside, the music takes a serious tone with 'Gary Floyd Revisited' - of course, considering the lyrics, you can't take it any more seriously than anything else on the album. But it does sound like a more mellow track.

The sound and humour is unique and so worth the price of admission. If you don't instantly love this... Well, there's no hope for you. You're already dead.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online

Digital album