Review: George Anthony - Murder & Mayhem

May 20, 2020

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The title of George Anthony's debut album, Murder & Mayhem, signals the dangerous topics that Anthony covers in an impressively-tight 33 minute album. Managing this in just over half an hour seemed to me an absurd thought, because I've seen George deliver the opening track, "The Man, The Rabbit and the Turtle", in person and it took nearly 30 minutes for him to tell this joke about his dad delivering a joke.

Several tracks on this album are abbreviated versions of jokes that Anthony has told in longer form. I don't envy the editing required to make this album. As a storyteller that is a master at creating visuals - everything from the painfully detailed description of a pet shop, to the family fight at the movie theater, to the unfortunate incident at CVS, you can easily visualize what Anthony is describing. And I don't know how he does it, but he gets an audience to laugh at things that delivered by any other person would elicit crickets. From the opening track, Anthony gets an audience to roar at this fairly mundane line: "...we don't take checks here". It doesn't matter how or why, it just matters that Anthony makes us laugh at the mundane.

During the course of the album, Anthony certainly covers both murder and mayhem. I don't want to reveal too much about the parties involved in the murder(s) and mayhem(s) because it would steal your joy of listening to Anthony slowly reveal the intricate and incredibly intelligent ways in which he's able to weave a story. The way he sets up the track "Here's My Chance" is one I'll point to because I know I wasn't expecting a political commentary, but as I reflected on it, I certainly thought about how our society sees race. The other time in the album he delves into politics, he doesn't get super political; he lays out his observation and lets you decide how to take it.

If you've seen him live, you know that he doesn't move a lot, he doesn't emote a lot (take note of the exception on "This Sunday"), but is always fully in control of the delivery and timing of his words. Anthony is a master at both. That is on full display on this album. When all you have is audio, delivery and timing have to be perfect. The only flaw I can find in this album is I wish I could have more, and I wish I could return to Austin comedy venues to watch him perform. Having this album to turn to will have to do. It certainly will do just fine. Despite the promise of murder and mayhem.

The album release date is May 22, 2020; grab your copy now and support George!

Get it at FMCW Studios, or on iTunes/Apple Music (search for George Anthony).