(Westword) The subtly disturbing "Death Sides Now," a Joni Mitchell cover, opens the latest full-length from Little Fyodor. Recalling the more demented side of Sun City Girls, Peace Is Boring is possibly this act's most actualized release to date. Before punk became codified, weirdos like the Residents, Ranaldo and the Loaf and Devo were lumped in with that movement. The unbound creative spirit of those acts informs this album of manic, deranged genius. The Stuart Hamblen cover, "Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sunshine In)," made famous by the Flintstones and sung here by longtime collaborator Babushka, sounds absolutely un-ironic. With Fyodor in general, live or otherwise, the musicianship is solid, and these twisted pop songs will infuriate many but delight those who appreciate the unapologetically weird. - Tom Murphy
(The Yellow Rake) “What the hell is this?” you’ll ask yourself upon slipping Little Fyodor’s latest effort, Peace is Boring, into your CD player. And it will take several listens before you finally wrap your head around what the hell is going on here. That’s because Little Fyodor perpetrates eclectic music that's reminiscent of awkwardly laughing your way through a really confusing acid trip. The lyrics address several pressing issues facing humanity, such as uncomfortable clothes, hairspray, and as the title suggests, the dullness of peace. The songs range from straight ahead rock to Devo-inspired electro—but they’re all deliberately offensive and strangely strange in that punk rocking kind of way. As a whole, Peace is Boring rails against a culture that takes itself way too seriously (you know, the kind of thing that punks used to be really good at). And Little Fyodor is a type of prophet with a simple message: Life is too short not to have fun. So why not write a song called “Fuck-a-duck-a-luck-a-luck-a-ding-dong?” At least it makes sense to him. Definitely recommended.
(Auxiliary Out) Little Fyodor is a strange dude, the cover illustration is barely an exaggeration. He's also got cred rarely seen in the world of limited edition tapes: nearly three decades worth of work and even a record on Elephant 6! Fyodor crams ten tracks into the first side ("Side Atom,") starting things off with "Death Sides Now." It's a slow, percussion and voice ditty about ghosts and ghouls that makes for a good lead into the frighteningly spastic "That was a Mistake." Fyodor makes like Devo's crazier cousin with frenetic guitar shards, hyper-kinetic synths and "flustered nerd" vocals. I particularly love when Fyodor changes the chorus from "That was a mistake!/That was a mistake!" to "Condoleeza Rice!/Condoleeza Rice!" at the end of the song. Maybe my favorite track from the tape. I should probably address the most in-your-face element of the album: Fyodor's voice. His high-pitched, cartoonish drawl will definitely grate on the less easygoing nerves out there, although I must say, it's hard to imagine the songs without it. The vocals are bold and definitely throw caution to the wind making for a real love-it-or-hate-it situation. For those who can take the vocals though, there's a lot to like about the record. "All My Clothes are Uncomfortable" isn't much more than a sketch but that doesn't make it any less fun. Fyodor and his gang manage to pack much more than a minute's worth of jittery energy and jangly melodies into the 62 seconds of "Spider Dream." "Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sunshine In" sounds like the creepiest nursery song in history ("Let the sunshine in/Face it with a grin/Smilers never lose/Frowners never win") though that's due in part to numerous mentions of combating the Devil. There's a great music box-style melody to it. "You Don't Know" is another solid song with anti-authoritarian and/or just silly lyrics ("Rules and regulations are your latest fad" and "You only care about the hairspray in your hair"). Another favorite is "Cruising (Bummer Scene)" which reminds me of a number of artists, one of the most surprising being Girls Against Boys. It slows the tempo down a bit and it really pays off. There's some great toy piano melodies and lead guitar work all anchored by funky rhythm guitar and Fyodor's suitably hushed vocals. "Everybody's Sick" is literally a scat song, more of an oddity that anything else yet it's one of the five longest songs on the album (though that still isn't very long.) Another highlight is the giddy, anti-war (and anti-mosquito) sing-along "The God Gripe Song" whose chorus leads off with the line "Why are people so fucked up?" After a brief, warbling rendition of "What a Wonderful World" the band launches into the track which is probably the catchiest two minutes of the tape. Following that up is "Silly Noise" which is basically just that, slide whistle, oscillator etc. The title track opens up the second side ("Side Bomb") with dissonant synthesizers and ironically callous lyrics "Peace is boring/I want murder/Peace is boring/I crave drama". At 4 minutes though, it's way too much of the same repeated melodic progression. "The Natural Progression of Life" has a heavy, frantic bass throb that dominates the track before changing into a reggae-ish song. It's another slower jam that, once again, really works. Fyodor explores one of the scariest things about dying--no longer having worldly knowledge or sensations--and that "nothing will never matter to you again." Definitely a standout. From there, there is a banjo-laden Nancy Sinatra cover, "Boots," before "Death Wish," another upbeat anti-war number that goes half-time halfway through for some deep jamming until it wraps. The finale, "Fuck-a-duck-a-luck-a-luck-a-ding-dong" finds Fyodor finally going off the deep end into complete nonsense including weird reverbed chipmunk voices repeating the title. There's a nice theremin-style freakout though. This is a well-made record for those into its spazzy, hyperbolic aesthetic. The tape sounds warm, loud and clear and looks professional with cool artwork by Hannah Batsel and lime green cassettes with WW2 images on the labels.
(Indieville) Little Fyodor: underground phenomenon. On Peace is Boring, Mr. Lichtenberg provides thirteen distinctly bizarre goof-rock excursions (and a vocals-only Joni Mitchell cover) which run the gamut from the purely inspired to the more or less flat. On the better end of the spectrum sits the Beefheart-esque art-rock of the title-track, with its quirky, spasmodic structure, as well as the reggae-tinged “The Natural Progression of Life” (minus a bland chorus). On the other hand, “Everybody's Sick” and post-punk influenced “All My Clothes Are Uncomfortable” are solely novelty – fun, funny, and fairly surreal, but hardly the type of tunage you allot heavy rotation to. The main problem with the record's weaker tracks has to do with a recurrent formula: Little Fyodor conjures up a brief, abrupt melodic phrase, then repeats it ad nauseam. Goofy goodness, for sure, but not enough to keep one coming back. Meanwhile, Lichtenberg's wacky vocals are a curious double-edged sword: his unique delivery is what gives Peace is Boring a lot of its character, but they are also a fiercely acquired taste (his cover of Mitchell's “Death Sides Now” makes this point adamantly clear.) Hence, due to Fyodor's startling idiosyncrasy, I have trouble passing any anchored judgement on this little number... - Matt Shimmer
(Ampersand Etcetera) The resurrected &etc has, for the last few months, eschewed images. This has mainly been laziness, compendium reviews where there would be too many images, and a desire for a cleaner line. Little Fyodor demands a picture - he is a persona of Dave Lichtenberg, who has been making music for a while (thanks wikipedia), and the look is indicative of the music. This is the cover of Peace is Boring - on the website there are also many photos, and the the impression is of someone doing their best to look wacky/zany/nerdish. Anyway, this album from Public Eyesore (PE111) fits with their history of being a broad church which offers an outlet for 'outsider' art (not sure if Fyodor is, or is role playing, the outsider status) Anyway, the music's the thing... The album opens with a rewriting of Both sides now - Death sides now which is taken into dark places with subtle orchestration. The voice is strange - a strangled, twisted things that jumps around: perhaps Weird Al taken to another level? From here the voice is matched by the music, a hooky driving punkish rock drive, over which Fyodor's singing runs amok. The titles of songs suggests the lyrical direction: All my clothes are uncomfortable, Everybody's sick (which lists all the people/things that are sick), Cruising (bummer scene) (again with a darker tone to the music, but without obvious lyrical relationship to the title), Death wish (antiwar). On a number of songs he is joined by Babushka (who also plays keyboards) - a cover of Open up your heart (and let the sunshine in), The god gripe song (which segues from Wonderful world to a list of things god's got wrong, such as why did you make the mosquito) and the canonical Boots. First time I listened I thought that the strangled female vocals was another Fyodor personality - but there are pictures of the Babushka on the web site and on the inner cover: but it still sounds like him to me. The musicianship on the album is excellent - there are touches of synth and processing (in the closing sing-a-long, for example), and the band rocks out some very nice pop/rock. The songs have great hooks and it is quite a catchy album - all you have to do is accept the extreme melodramatic, strained vocals. Which can be worth it as it is really a fun album. - Jeremy Keens
(Vice Magazine) Little Fyodor’s back! The oddly dressed and mostly depressed Boyd-Rice-endorsed maniac is back! And he’s singing more itchy songs about being hated and how we’re all gonna die someday and stuff. On this one he’s got songs like “All My Clothes Are Uncomfortable” and “Fuck-a-duck-a-luck-a-luck-a-ding-dong.” I just realized that a lot of Little Fyodor’s music is like what would happen if that song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” had a whole genre of music based around it. There’s absolutely nothing cool about this music, and it’s pretty decent. You might not think much of his music at first, but when things go bad you’ll hear the lyrics to his songs taunting you inside your mind. - Joey Johnny
(Maximum Ink) Claiming Denver as home this juggernaut of insanity has ranted and raved about his decidedly disenfranchised reality since at least 1981. Now, with fellow soothe sayer Babushka they explore 14 newly twisted avenues of totally snapped psycho punk rock including a couple revisioned classics. A mental calliope of grandeur and disillusionment for the children of the Subgenius. - Andrew Frey
(Razorcake) Little Fyodor muses about death, sickness, war, uncomfortable clothes, and sucky friends on Peace Is Boring. Little Fyodor’s eclectic choice of topics is as kooky as his live stage show, where he performs with “Lady Babushka.” Fyodor dresses in righteous psychedelic throwback suits and has a head full of untamable red, white-man fro hair while he relentlessly blasts through his crazy songs. I’m a fan of his style. Take the track on this album, “All My Clothes Are Uncomfortable.” It seems like nothing more than an annoying forty-eight-bar mantra, but one has to listen to the very end of the song to understand he was only repeating the song title over and over to make a metaphor for his friendships with the line, “All my friends are irresponsible. They’re either too loose or too tight.” Fyodor has been kicking his brand independent punk around Denver for a long time and—if you’re like me and like unabashedly crazy music—he won’t disappoint you. – N.L. Dewart
(Aural Innovations) Little Fyodor’s 2009 released Peace Is Boring is a 14 song set of cleverly crafted madcap fun. I love the Barnum and Baily circus band Punk-Psychedelic tight-as-a-knot sublime insanity of songs like That Was A Mistake, Spider Dream, and You Don’t Know. The cover tunes, as usual, are all over the map. Death Sides Now takes Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now and totally Fyodorizes the lyrics. Fyodor and Babushka treat the 50s classic Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sunshine In) like they’re contributing to a Punk Rock children’s compilation. Babushka does her best Nancy Sinatra on Lee Hazelwood’s Boots. Well… actually she’s just being Babushka. Dig that banjo and Garage Rock backing. Similar to Truly Rejected, songs like All My Clothes Are Uncomfortable showcase the loser as less alienated and tragic than he might seem and more down to Earth comical. Cruising (Bummer Scene) is a little different, being a darkly chunky rocker with spacey horror show effects, whimsical bell percussion and a cool Country-Blues guitar solo. I lile the Jazz-Scat gibberish of Everybody’s Sick. Babushka goes into angst mode on the Country fun The God Gripe Song, another tune that if you ignore the lyrics sounds like it would be ideal for a children’s record. I really dig the ominous whack job Zappa-Prog-Psych of Peace Is Boring. Fyodor goes Post-Punk Reggae on The Natural Progression Of Life. Death Wish is part Fyodor does Spinal Tab and part filthy dirty screaming Grunge-Psychedelia. Finally, Fuck-a-duck-a-luck-a-luck-a-ding-dong is a merry semantics be damned whackadoodle dandy of a closing number. As whacky as it all might seem on the surface, Little Fyodor’s songs are tightly and imaginatively arranged, and he’s got the assistance of solid musicians. A splendid time is guaranteed for all. - Jerry Kranitz