The Burning Hell — Baby (Weewerk)

Matthias Korn, mastermind of The Burning Hell, has always been clever, and his music perfectly capable of catchiness, too. Even so, Baby is a surprise. Korn’s previous album, Happy Birthday, drowned its potential in one too many mournful ballads — fans of the ukulele maestro’s live show were confused to discover how little of his energy carried through onto the recordings.

There’s no such problem here. Bouncy opener “Old World” is the rule, not the exception — a nostalgic ode to the prenatal home none of us can return to. From there, Korn goes on to chronicle morbid tales (“Grave Situation Part 3,” featuring a guest spot by Canada’s weirdest one-man-band, Wax Mannequin), historical conferences (“The Berlin Conference”) and bizarre relationship metaphors (“The Things that People Make, Part 2”). That last one is a particular standout — how could you not love lyrics like “You’ll be the last giant panda bear, I’ll be the last giant panda bear sperm”?

The hidden track works both as a conclusion and a punchline — a seven-minute back-and-forth between Korn and The Barmitzvah Brothers’ Jenny Mitchell, it mocks both The Burning Hell’s more maudlin tendencies and Mitchell’s perpetual whimsy. A little bit of self-awareness goes a long way.

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