Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Terrordactyls: Contrast and Compare

It's true that the presence of Kimya Dawson was the main impetus behind me inserting the Terrordactyls' new self-titled disc into the laptop right away when it arrived. Her duet with one of the 'dactyls on track 7, "Devices," is surely one of the best in class since Paul and Michael laid down "Say Say Say", but then Kimya's voice gets me choked up every single time I see the Juno trailer in the theater, if only due to the staggering emotional whiplash of the Bucket List-to-Kimya juxtaposition.

I've listened to the whole thing several times through, though, and keep smiling at their ability to keep me engaged with songs that are this kazoo-heavy. At first blush, the album plays like Kindercore-era Of Montreal, exuberant lo-fi whimsy held together with enough scotch tape to stay intact for two minutes, maybe. But pay more attention, and there's a steady sense that Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl aren't always kidding. "Hang me from the rafters and I’ll hang you from the lamp post/We’ll see which one of us wants to end everything the most," they sing on "Fall", before some crazy fun verses of chant-sing.

This will fit in nicely next to your Jeffrey Lewis, Boat, and Bishop Allen records; it takes the best bits of 90s indie-pop and twee and blends it with some semi-serious melancholy and half-ironic cries for help, along with a few melodies you may be physically unable to keep from singing the second time around.