Lenny & Squiggy

Lenny & the Squigtones

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With Lander yelping at the audience to "sit down, relax, and dance" as the band takes to the stage, Squigtones makes a darn good case that the truly successful joke/music duo of the Carter administration were these guys instead of the Blues Brothers. Steering clear of covers in favor of their own nutball pastiches and lyrical loopiness, McKean and Lander are at once better and funnier than, say, Sha Na Na as well. While it helps to have been familiar with the Lenny & Squiggy schtick from the Laverne and Shirley shows, the two actors wisely don't reference the TV appearances much -- it's a standalone goof and works just right as that. Backed by a capable five-piece band, with McKean's future Spinal Tap bandmate Christopher Guest on guitar (and credited as Nigel Tufnel!), McKean and Lander tackle both their between-song patter and musical efforts with entertaining gusto, playing off the enthusiastic audience without breaking character. When it comes to the music, there's everything from teen death songs like "Starcrossed" to the easy swinging title track to the "unproduced" horror classic "Creature Without a Head." One absolute scream that has to be heard by all Brian Wilson fanatics is "King of the Cars," an early Beach Boys-style surf rocker with especially nutty work. McKean has the better voice, able to sing it straight and throw in a few amusing basso profundo parts, but Lander has a fine falsetto that works well, and they harmonize more than fine when required. As for the spoken-word parts between songs, where to begin? "So's Your Old Testament" finds the two arguing over Jesus' religion -- Catholic or Lutheran? -- while some of the throwaways nail it. Thus the introduction to the dramatic ballad "Foreign Legion of Love" -- "This next song is about the mysterious East! Home of the mysterious Easter Bunny!"

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