Cool Patrol (2018), is Ninja Sex Party’s long-awaited return to their original content after a three year detour to create a couple cover albums in Under the Covers (2016), and Under the Covers Vol. II (2017). They continued to release several original singles throughout that time period, but most of this album we haven’t heard quite yet.
They originally became known for their hilarious absurdity in songs like “Dinosaur Laser Fight,” and “6969,” but weren’t typically known for their musical prowess. While their sound showed quick and obvious development through their first three original albums, before their 2015 release, Attitude City, it wasn’t anything to write home about. And looking at their singles leading up to this release, I could see this development continued. So I was excited to take a look at what they had done over the past several years.
Off the bat, you can see the large gap they closed, as Cool Patrol sports some of the most complex and well-produced instrumentals that they’ve created. The powerful, 80s, anthemic moments are more prevalent than any other album of theirs, and Danny’s voice has come a long way. Never has their power-pop sound been more obvious, but they make it new and interesting with crafty and sometimes funky solos they’ve also added in. It’s inarguable that they’ve come a long ways musically, and have continued to make improvements.
The album hits hard immediately, with “Cool Patrol,” and “Orgy for One;” two hilarious, and energetic tracks that really encompass NSP as a band. The random absurdity takes another level on “Cool Patrol,” and the clever contradiction of the idea of an “Orgy for One” is something that will never not be funny.
Then, of course, their new single “Danny Don’t You Know” presents itself as a huge anthem about self-acceptance. The slight problem I have with this is that it doesn’t sound like a Ninja Sex Party song? It seems like their first three tracks on the album are maybe serving as some sort of positive message (which is fine), but the first two have their comedic twists. Whereas this song doesn’t really have that hilarity, aside from a few subtle jokes within the song. Overall though, it’s a solid, epic piece that’s kind of an ode to how far they’ve come as a band. And, I mean, I personally crack up anytime Danny says “You walk like a newborn deer,” as I can relate to it myself.
Now, to me, this is a point at which there’s a drop-off in quality of the songs. Songs like “Release the Kraken,” and “First Date” are both pretty good, but not as epic or hilarious as their predecessors. “Release the Kraken” does feature Ninja Brian speaking, but aside from his tiny comments throughout the song, I don’t get many laughs or exciting moments from it. Likewise, “First Date,” is a quality song, but not special in any particular way. Its heavy guitar and passionate instrumental are very reminiscent of any power-pop/rock band, but I don’t find anything particularly clever about the songwriting/lyricism. You may see me frame a lot of these complaints in terms of how their comedy/creativity comes out, and that’s due to them being a comedy band. I feel a lot of their highlights have always been in their clever lines, and funny moments, as they should be.
Once again, we hit another drop-off. The entirety of the second half of the album is pretty uninteresting with the exception of “Heart Boner,” and “GFY.” “Heart Boner” is a straight-forward love ballad, but all of the lyrics are his feelings put into sexual language. The juxtaposition of the message and the language is both creative and pretty hilarious. The instrumentation is also surprisingly complex and clean. “GFY” is more of a skit, but is just a marching band chant/cheer that in the end, spells “Go Fuck Yourself.” So that’s just kind of fun.
The rest is just a less interesting version of traditional Ninja Sex Party. “Smooth Talkin” is sexualized gibberish over some free-form jazz. It is funny once or twice, but once you get the gimmick it becomes pretty boring. Other songs like “Courtship of the Mermaid,” I feel have essentially been written by them before. Then the rest of the tracks like “Romance Novel,” are skits that I feel aren’t effective. The closer I get to the end of the album, the less I become interested or entertained. “Mansion Party” is a bit better than some of these, but is really just a straight-forward, funky jam without much to it.
Compositionally (especially towards the beginning of the album) several of the tracks are incredibly complex and impressive. Their energetic performance outdoes almost anything they’ve ever done before. Tracks like “Heart Boner” show off their newer, sharper, better production quality as well. However, as the album progresses, it falls off more and more. Because they’ve developed this more impressive sound, the success and unique aspects of their songs are reliant on the comedy. And while the beginning of the album executes the comedy really well, the ending isn’t quite as good at this. So even though it contains some of their more memorable hits, the album as a whole isn’t as strong as it could’ve been, based on the beginning.
I’m thinking a 7 on this one. Not every song is guaranteed to be a hit, but I wish more of their top-notch comedy was paired with this higher quality production/instrumentation. And it may still be their best release to date, in many ways. I really just wanted something like “6969” or “Samurai Abstinence Patrol,” where they combined their new musical talent with their old sense of humor.
Favorite Track(s): “Cool Patrol”, “Orgy for One,”
Least Favorite Track(s): “Romance Novel,” “Courtship of the Mermaid”