JG Thirlwell - The Venture Brothers: The Music of JG Thirlwell (Cover Artwork)

JG Thirlwell

The Venture Brothers: The Music of JG Thirlwell (2009)

Williams Street

While "The Venture Brothers" is not a "punk" animated show, by any stretch of the word, it is undoubtedly awesome. And readers may have noticed the Phantom Limb images floating around the site (especially in posts related to Pig Destroyer's album of the same name) in homage to the show. So on that extremely marginally-related note…

The Venture Bros: The Music of JG Thirlwell, Vol. 1, marks the first release of music from the Williams Street show. While the music sometimes seems a bit out of place in certain scenes of the show -- "Jonny Quest-on-steroids music" (as dubbed by show creator Jackson Publick) juxtaposed with characters talking -- the music is always 100 percent awesome.

JG Thirlwell (previously known for his Steroid Maximus instrumental project), tosses in just about everything but the kitchen sink in the mostly instrumental 20-song soundtrack, with sounds ranging from moody, backwoods saloon tunes with whistles, banjos and a piano with slightly loose and out-of-tune keys, to balls-to-the-wall unbridled energy. It is the quintessential animation music, and sounds like it was organized as an album from the start.

After the western intro of "Brock Graveside," "Tuff" kicks in the door with heavy bass tones and a driving beat that will make listeners want to run and run and run, as cartoon characters so often find themselves doing. Then the blare of the powerful brass instrumentation kicks it up another notch. The next two tracks keep pace, leading into "Node Wrestling," which has an absolutely incredible flute part. That track also serves as a great example of the fusion Thirlwell creates of traditional instrumentation and driving techno beats and sounds.

"Damion" finally gives listeners a break of the energetic onslaught, leaving the middle of the album to the moodier compositions. One of the highlights of this portion is "Warped Carousel," which true to its name, sounds like a carousel ride taken hold of by a Burton/Elfman combination. Things get moving again in the last four tracks, and close with the Venture Bros. theme, "No Vacancy."

JG Thirlwell has incredible musical talent, composing, performing and producing much of the music himself, and there isn't a second he wastes on The Venture Bros: The Music of JG Thirlwell. Brilliant!