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Fat Dukes wield humor-tipped musical spear

Before long, they’ll share with us some puppet porn, “share” being shorthand for “scar emotionally.”

But for now, one of Vegas’ most awesomely out-of-hand bands is explaining how they do it over beers at The Hammer, a south-side dive bar where dogs are welcome and Toto blares on the jukebox.

“The songs are just whatever makes us laugh at the time,” says Brent Lynch, singer for the Fat Dukes of (the last word of their name is unprintable, though it rhymes with truck). “If one person’s like, ‘Dude, that’s so stupid.’ then we have to keep it.”

On paper, that sounds like the formula for an in-joke novelty act, the kind of stuff that may be funny upon first spin but seldom demands another listen.

But the Dukes work for the same reason that like-minded eccentrics such as the Butthole Surfers, early Mr. Bungle and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention do: Humor is merely the tip of the musical spear, and said spear is aimed at your cerebellum.

The band started with Lynch and guitarist Jarrod Miller, a pair of Salem, Ore., transplants, making noisy home recordings with a drum machine.

Over the course of two records, the Dukes evolved into a four-piece with drummer Jeremy Brenton and bassist Jason Lamb. Together, they’ve readied an equally dense, diffuse and infectious new album, “Honey From the Lips of An Angel,” which they’ll release Friday at an art show at Blackbird Studios.

It’s a free-range, tongue-in-cheek pastiche of funk, prog metal, Krautrock and more, often happening all at once.

Take “Let My People Grow,” which begins with a drone, lurches into an almost ZZ Top-esque groove with Lynch giving voice to raw-throated come-ons and then lunges into full-on thrash riffing underscored with double bass drumming.

Speaking of the latter, Brenton, who also plays with Vegas doom metal standouts Demon Lung, joined the band after seeing one of their messy, always memorable live gigs, where Lynch wields a homemade toilet-paper gun, among other things.

“The first time I saw ’em, I was just like, ‘This is the best live show in Vegas. Period. Nobody does this,’ ” Brenton recalls. “I was like, ‘How are they not the biggest band in Vegas.’ ”

“Literally, we are,” Miller chuckles, referencing some of the band members’ girth.

Later, Miller shows us the soon-to-be-released video for “Cigarette” on his phone.

The video, starring what looks like the world’s most debauched Muppet doing all kinds of unspeakable acts, aptly encapsulates the Dukes’ winkingly offensive appeal.

“We’re in on our own joke,” Miller says.

And then Lynch finishes the thought, and his beer.

“You’ve got to have an open mind to enjoy us, man.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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