From the surrealist theatrics of Oingo Boingo and Devo to the esoteric lyricism of Hunky Dory, it seems that not taking yourself seriously can give you a big leg up in the world of art rock. And as with the escapism given to us by those ’70s and ’80s greats, modern day art rockers like Austin’s The Best Around cross the wires between absurdist, non-sequitur humor and biting social commentary. In Spring 2020, Ten years after his indie punk outfit Safeword tapped out, singer-songwriter Camron Rushin created The Best Around along with multi-instrumentalists Todd Pruner (of English Teeth and Kodachrome) and Jon Merz (of Montopolis, My Jerusalem, and Soul Track Mind). They began exchanging stems of new songs and building up arrangements remotely, one instrument at a time, in accordance with pandemic-mandated social distancing. That patience (cue Karate Kid training montage music) lends itself to the work ethic of The Best Around, whose uncouth goofiness may cause cursory critiques to overlook the trio’s underlying discipline.
With Cobrai Kai making its fifth season premiere this Friday and Karate Kid culture back in the zeitgeist, The Best Around are making the most of this moment of Kairos with a new studio single. It’s part of The Best Around’s upcoming debut full-length, which was mixed and mastered by Erik Wofford at Cacophony Recorders here in Austin and is set for release sometime in the next several months. This latest one is a testament to the fact that there’ll never be a demand shortage for breakup songs, and there’ll always be another, more irreverent way to bid farewell to a former fling. Layered with LFO synth flairs, Fastball-style group vocals, bluesy guitar, and mid-’90s Beck-esque production techniques, “Kissing Your Ass” (and its soon-to-be-shared music video) is a perfect funk-rock complement to pop breakup bangers like “thank u, next”.