steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Casper and the Cookies

"Oh!" CD

Happy 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.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by HHBTM, released 2004]