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JESUS H. CHRIST AND THE FOUR HORNSMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Happier Than You (2008)
Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse (self-released) 2005

With Tom Lehrer still the sine qua non master of the field, the precariousness of sardonic adult humor in music is amply illustrated by this entertaining New York octet (half of it being the Four Hornsmen, who add to, without ever overwhelming, the simple rock music with brass). Delivered in Risa Mickenberg's winning matter-of-fact voice, "Connecticut's for F*cking" is hysterical, a deadly putdown of the Nutmeg State as a nadir of middle-class tedium that proffers copulation as the only entertaining alternative. And "Vampire Girls," which passingly sounds like the Replacements' "I Don't Know," explodes the little-known problem of women "who seem like they're really cool until you realize that everything that's cool about them is something they sucked out of their ex-boyfriends" with a laundry list of modern-trendy Henry Higgins acquisitions, from Balzac to Karen Black, Iggy Pop to Photoshop. "Nipples" is a reasonably clever ode to breasts, made slightly funnier in that it's sung by a woman, and "Vicki Is a Pro" ("No matter what a dork you are / She'll make you feel like a superstar") makes its point about hookers without belaboring the thought. But "Obviously," a grown-up bitchfest straight out of "Valley Girl," is too theatrical to bear more than one performance, and the not-funny "Do Me" ("I heard your wife died the other day / I want to be the one first to say / That I want you to do me!") drives a tasteless notion deep into the ground for no discernible purpose.

[Ira Robbins]