Music Connection

The Tyrants in Therapy
Taix’s 321 Lounge, Echo Park, CA
Sept 21,2009

Reviwed by Adam Pompili

The Players:  Michael J, vocals; Abbe/Abbe, vocals.

Material:  It is uncharacteristic of Music Connection to review comedy acts. However, this team, consisting of two veterans of music, comedy, film and television, shed new light on the mock-musical scene. The twosome blend hokey and sometimes circus-like music with an in-your-face comedic approach to some of our nation’s most debatable topics. The Tyrants in Therapy happily offend. Insult and make light of serious subjects for the sake of comedy. The contrast between anti-establishment statements and Hitler references performed to the sounds of polka backbeats, R&B grooves and rock & roll themes seems to always leave the crowd rolling with laughter and begging for more.

Musicianship:  Although the duo never plucks a string or beats a drum, they sing in fairly pleasant harmony. Michael J adds texture to the accompaniment by offering maracas along with salsa and reggae motifs, while Abbe/Abbe shows off her vocal ability on “Apocalypso.”

Performance:  The Tyrants are a polished comedy duo who understand their audience. The entire set was based on timing. With rarely a lull in the action, the two musical comedians playfully enjoyed their time on stage and acted out their characters with flawless certainty. Having their performance down to a science kept the pace between songs flowing from one genre to the next with small interludes to tell jokes and build for the next musical onslaught of comedic declarations.

Summary:  A group who has seen the best and worst of the entertainment industry, the Tyrants in Therapy are taking on Hollywood again, on their terms. These two likeable characters offer musical comedy as a side dish to a special brand of dark humor, leaving the audience hysterical and highly entertained.

Emotional Coathanger Records
Review by: Christopher Thelen

Smarter than the average listener would expect. Lighter moments include the English language version of “Je T’aime (Moi Non Plus)” and the 16-second interlude “Doubt and Pain.” While tracks like “Boy, ” “Om Shanti Om” (enjoyable in both its mixes presented here) and “Sex Is Back” (delivered almost in a Madonna-becomes-newscaster style by Abbe Kanter) get you up and dancing. Titles like “In The Shadow Of Hitler” and “Yer No Jack Kennedy” might leave listeners thinking that Tyrants In Therapy are a novelty band – and while they do enjoy moments of levity, they mean business. Meet The Tyrants In Therapy proved to be a more pleasant introduction to this group than I had expected – and now I’m glad to say I know the band and their music. Chances are this disc will thrill you as well.

Tyrants In Therapy @ Lumpy Gravy.
Tonight, a review about a duo that call themselves Tyrants In Therapy, an act that was described by a particularly vitriolic person I met recently as “a really cheesy new wave Sonny and Cher who sing to a DAT.”

I think this is a bit harsh. These two late thirty-some-things who call themselves the Tyrants are cabaret to the core. They try to amuse with their comedic shtick just as much as with their music. In this department the Sonny and Cher reference does seem apt. Lots of French language banter in one number, the blond male Tyrant abruptly turns from his Jewish Princess cohort to ask the audience “Why am I speaking FRENCH?”

Herky jerky, they goof off each other during the songs. It’s not exactly live but it’s certainly not karaoke. Our eclectic TITs broaden their already versatile repertoire with some New York reggae rock. (A lot of their stuff has a definite New York pop influence.)

Salty, savvy, but always good natured entertainment like Kid Creole, David Johansen, Debbie Harry and the like. Rendered with heavy irony and a glass of white wine for courage.

Their centerpiece seems to be this morality play set to music called Don’t Say Words Like That, an arrangement so deep and complex that they have to read it from a sheet of paper to prompt them for the overlapping lyrical duel: “Pot smoker… Karaoke Don’t say words like that. Hot pink slurpees… herpes… Don’t say those words Name droppers, Cherry poppers…Don’t say words like that to me Baby boomers… Brain tumors. Withdrawal. Move your bowels”

Greil Marcus gets the careers of Presley, Dylan and Johnny Rotten as his foils I get Tyrants In Therapy. According to Hindu precepts, I must have been reincarnated from someone especially wicked to have been dealt this lot in life maybe next time I’ll come back as someone really lucky JFK, Jr.

Immedia Wire Service

CD Reviews by Scott G Combining pop music with surrealism can be instantly appealing but it’s a fine line between “trippy fun” and “comedy album.” Fortunately, the Tyrants in Therapy (or TIT, as they often refer to themselves) never cross that line. The musical content remains high even as things go completely loopy on about a quarter of the tracks. Comprised of an ever-changing number of musicians, but centered around Michael Jaye and Abbe Kanter, TIT is thoroughly delightful. Sex is Back, Om Shanti Om and Down in Flames Together are the immediate standouts on a quirky, peppy album.