Count Vaseline review: Rough, ready, reliably good

Fri, Nov 24, 2017, 05:00


Tales from the Megaplex

Count Vaseline

Saustex Records


How do you evaluate an album of only eight tracks, each lasting less than 90 seconds? Tales from the Megaplex is ex-Mighty Stef frontman Stefan Murphy’s third solo album in just over a year. He recorded it in Atlanta in two days, with zero budget. And it tells. The vibe is rough and ready. Virtually every track is a frantic rocker, on which the Crumlin man performs as though the last bus outside is just about to leave. Yet somehow he still carves out sufficient space to pay homage to the state of Texas, to offer an unsentimental tribute to a deceased friend, to wax nostalgic for the brave new world of early 1990s Irish suburban megaplexes and to propound some frankly wrong revisionist theories about which band member was the true creative genius behind The Velvet Underground.

Call it his Nashville Skyline; this is not the best album Murphy will ever make. It’s certainly not representative of his overall body of work. But it contains just too many weird, off-kilter gems to dismiss it entirely either. “Too old for revolution,” he describes himself on the final track. “Too young to lay down and die.” Thankfully, he ticked the third box here: to just keep on keeping on.