"How to Build..." Review from Punk Planet

Max Levine Ensemble, The - How to Build an Intergalactic Time Travel Machine

The back of the record says: "Warning: This album may cause death." Yeah yeah, I know punk irreverence and all, but I'm pretty superstitious and still considered forgoing a listen altogether.  Then I heard the first jangly, catchy garage tune, and I couldn't stop.  I listened to the whole thing, and I'm still here, so there you go.  The songs are nicely layered, often sounding like it's one guy rocking out in the middle of an empty house that slowly fills up with his buddies playing in time.  The Bowie-esque vocals are neatly stylized and the short, simple songs are energetic and fun. The lyrics are by turns funny (a song is called "Poop Farm") and smart (such as the clever and skeptical "Democracy") and even profound ("Stop saying what you know/ You ain't learned a single thing till you can feel it in your throat" - nice). The music makes a nice platform for both the silly and serious songs, and they even throw in some horns without making you cringe.  All that and there's a giant squid on the cover. (DAI)