Elemen Opee Elpee

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"After producing three cassettes, four magazines, 30 booklets, two videos and a single, LMNOP is proud to release this, their first LP," to quote the liner notes of Elemen Opee Elpee, and the group's pride runneth over on 16 tracks, most of which are less than three minutes in length. Because Stephen Fievet is such a verbose lyricist, it's amazing how he can squeeze all of his clever commentary into the short songs which speed along at a breakneck pace. The opening cut, "Tapes," kicks things off with a recycled Ramones riff, but the album's overall sound is too clean and Fievet is too literate to merit further comparisons to the seminal punk rockers. Covering subject matter ranging from breakfast cereal to diatoms, LMNOP manages to disguise much of Fievet's admonitory negativity by emphasizing whimsical power pop melodies. In fact, without the benefit of a lyric sheet, a cursory listener might not even notice lines such as "I can't forgive the hate/you planted in my heart/I can't forgive the pain/I don't know where to start" (from "Comparative Analysis") or "please believe me/when I say that I won't beat you up/please believe me/when I say that I won't cut you up" (from "Please Believe Me"). Sometimes Fievet gets a little too preachy and self-indulgent, but his boyish vocals (reminiscent of the Three O'clock's Michael Quercio) and the band's cheerful musicianship help leaven the serious content. An eccentric talent with plenty on his mind, Fievet's ability to channel his ideas through LMNOP makes his material seem more accessible than other home-recording weirdoes like R. Stevie Moore, although a deeper investigation into Elemen Opee Elpee reveals more than the shiny pop surface might indicate.