Patrick Wensink & True Neutral – Broken Piano for President (Audiobook)

The latest novel by absurdist author Patrick Wensink on Lazy Fascist Press is also available on audiobook cassette, including an actual soundtrack composed by Brian Miller’s (Foot Village, Back to the Future The Ride) latest project, True Neutral, available through Deathbomb Arc Records.  We’ve decided to review the unique experience of this audiobook, the story and soundtrack, collectively.

Wensink’s writing style has been — somewhat obviously — compared to the likes of Thomas Pynchon and Christopher Moore “on acid.”  And while the similarities in style are present throughout Broken Piano for President, Wensink’s bizarre sense of humor and casual storytelling method are very much his own.  The story itself sets Wensink apart from his contemporaries as well: a blacked-out drunk genius, Deshler Dean, has invented an addictive hamburger involved in a fast-food war, scored a six-figure record contract for his noise-rock band, and started dating a woman he doesn’t seem to recognize.  With such a hilarious and engaging storyline, it is no surprise, but certainly a welcomed pleasure, that the author takes everything to imaginative and surreal heights.  The book is chock-full of sharp wit and punk irreverence and is a guaranteed treat for all enemies of Jonathan Franzen.

On the audiobook’s score, Brian Miller’s True Neutral supplies the emotive and cerebrum-stimulating atmosphere and tone for Wensink’s weirdo novel.  The track “Call on the Herd” provides a type of theme song for the story, featuring a less-intense, more-lush compositional style for the former Foot Village front man.  “A Few Lights on the Wall” is a personal favorite with contributions from Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale.  This particular track seems to best articulate the theme and general sense of Wensink’s other-worldly novel, which is to say it sounds complex, fucked, and by the end, rather beautiful.  Fortunately, the audiobook also features these tracks alone, as the songs are definitely powerful and substantial enough to require independent listening.  It is certainly recommended that everyone continue to follow True Neutral’s future projects if this is any indication of what’s to come.

The audiobook is available through Deathbomb Arc and can be downloaded via Bandcamp.  The print edition is available here.

-April Davis


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