Casper and the Cookies
Happy Birthday To Me Records
Genres: indie pop, twee
PO Box 1035
Panama City, FL
Sep 13 - 19 2004
The Happy Happy Birthday To Me tag is a mark of quality for any pop
release. If you want to know how good the latest 63 Crayons
or Elekibass disc is, just look for the birthday cake logo on
the back. If you see it, you'll know to expect something good -
something you can hum, something you can sing along to, and something
you can enjoy.
So when I first listened to Casper and the Cookies' Oh!
album, I was a bit confused. The whimsy was there, as was the
fun spirit - but, at first, I wasn't really hooked.
So I gave the disc a chance. And, lo and behold - after
multiple listens, Oh! started to open up a bit. Casper
creates goofy, almost theatrical songs that are heavily
conceptual. "Take It Away, Kathy," for example, is a
silly pop number with a very cheery chorus highlighted by some wisely
placed synths. The cute "Sneaky Snake" is also one of
the album's better tracks - its lyrics are deliberately innocent and Of
Montreal-esque ("Sneaky met a penguin and promptly fell in
love/Sneaky sure liked penguins, but he was a snake"), and its
melody would work perfectly around a campfire. Other cute and
effective tunes include the title-track and "Barnacle Bill the
Sailor". Sometimes, however, the band's own cuteness can
become a problem - "Bubblewing Park" isn't as catchy as it
could be, coming off as a bit too inoffensive and light, while
"Mrs. Ford," an instrumental, is the type of idea that
merely threatens the record's flow.
Overall, Oh! isn't really like Of Montreal or Elf
Power, but it will probably appeal to the same audience.
This is yet another unique and endearing record from the alarmingly
consistent HHBTM crew, and while it isn't their greatest, it's still a
very pleasant romp.
12 tracks, distributed by HHBTM, released 2004]