60 Watt Kid

60 Watt Kid

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There is always room, or at least should be, for self-amused types in music, especially if it seems like they actually have some fun while they're doing what they do. San Francisco's 60 Watt Kid stand apart just enough from the endless cascade of winsome trippers through the daisies that define too much of indie rock at present because they also sound like they're having bizarre conversations with themselves and several robots from past decades' sci-fi films in the next room. It's not exactly Chrome or the Residents thirty years on and in the same city -- arguably too many of the melodies are straightforwardly and sweetly winning as opposed to being buried under layers of tape abuse -- but there's still a little something of that anarchic spirit, one that switches out straightforward and heart-baring earnestness for cryptic bemusement and barely understood vocals. More than a few times the combinations are near gooey in their sweetness -- "Ocsicnarf Nas" extends its backward spelling to the backward-masking on the vocals, and it's all shimmeringly beautiful towards the end in a way that's nice but not surprising. But elsewhere there are demented Elvis pastiches with more reverb than god, funhouse organs grinding into the dust, and what could theoretically be old-timey melodies but as heard through a fair amount of sonic murk. One of the odder moments -- singer Kevin Litrow running off a list of car brand names after asking "What kind of car do you drive?" on "I Got Money."

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