- Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
- Name: The Chowder Man
- Label: Hot Dad
- Composer(s): Hot Dad
- Number of Tracks: 11
You can read about the fantastic Hypnospace Outlaw and how I acquired the game by reading my review. As I backed the game at the "HYPNOSPACE GROOVEMASTER" tier this meant I was eligible to receive "the original soundtrack in MP3 or FLAC"; little did I realise that there's a lot of music in Hypnospace Outlaw which is probably why the soundtrack spans over five albums/EPs. The one I'm reviewing today is called "The Chowder Man" and is composed by Hot Dad.
In the world of Hypnospace Outlaw, "the Chowder Man" is a moniker adopted by rock star Erick Helman and you'll hear his music all over Hypnospace and not only his original music, but remixes that sample his music as well as jingles advertising various products. He was apparently born in 1954 and started learning to play guitar at the age of 12. He formed his first band called "Badd Crowd" in 1974 but with the help of his parents in 1981, he started up his own record label called Chowder Entertainment. In 1982, he released his debut album called "If We Wanna" which had one of its singles reach #8 on the Swiss music charts; what's more important though is that he got commissioned to write the theme for Gray's Peak Cola (which is the primary sampling material for the whole Coolpunk genre). In 1986, the single "The Chowder Man's Hotel Room" reached #2 on the USA rock charts. Between 1987 and 1989, the Chowder Man released two more albums before going on a hiatus until 1997 where he started writing jingles again. In 1999 he was hired by Merchantsoft to produce music for Hypnospace's Partner Brands and eventually formed the rock band Kruncher later the same year.
There are 11 tracks on this album and since I'm reviewing the itch.io version, there are 11 MP3s in 320 kbps format (I'm not sure what the Steam version of the soundtrack offers but I imagine it'd be the same. The Bandcamp version of the album probably offers you more choice).
The album is split into actual singles performed by the Chowder Man (there are four of them) and very short jingles/commercial themes (the remaining 7 tracks on the album). While I'd normally not list jingles as recommended listening it's actually quite amazing how Hot Dad manages to mimic the cheesiness and the 80s style so well. They are also incredibly catchy too and I still find myself inadvertently humming the theme to the Pokemon copycat "Squisherz" or the hilarious synthpop anthem for Hypnospace simply titled "Hypnospace is Cool". "Gray's Peak" and "Granny Cream's Hot Butter Ice Cream" are also great jingles: there are even people online who have actually attempted to follow the recipe quoted in the lyrics (if you don't believe me, there's even a YouTube video of it below).
Out of the actual rock tracks on this album, I actually quite enjoy the glam rock music and hilarious lyrics of "The Chowder Man's Hotel Room" and the rap metal/glam rock anthem "I Am the Chowder Man" (which also serves as the Chowder Man's Hypnospace page theme song): there's definitely hints of Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard when listening to these tracks.
My favourite track on the album though, and probably my favourite of the entire Hypnospace Outlaw soundtrack is "Ready to Shave" (which features Dave Pino on guitar). Despite the humourous lyrics about a man overcoming his fear of shaving, the music is sensational: the track sounds very much like space rock or prog rock bands of the late 70s and early 80s and I could totally imagine the band Yes doing a track like this (but with probably less coherent lyrics and a longer duration). A joke track shouldn't be this good!
Score – 8/10If you want to be transported back to the 80s where cheesy (yet catchy) jingles dominated the airwaves and glam rock and rap metal was cool, I recommend giving "The Chowder Man" a listen. Also, despite the track "Ready to Shave" being a complete joke, it's probably my favourite for 2019. I dare you to get the chorus out of your head (my kids are already singing it all of the time, much to the dismay of my wife).
If you're interested in purchasing the soundtrack, you can either get it off Steam for $14.50 AUD or itch.io when you buy the game for $28 USD or more. You can also get it standalone off Bandcamp for $1 USD or more (which is ridiculously cheap).