Pink Afros EP

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If Kennedy was out to establish himself as an impossible-to-pigeonhole oddball on this 2004 EP, he did a pretty good job of it. There's not much odder retro-disco than "Mama Made Me a Pimp," sung with as much matter-of-factness pride as if he's urging you to get down and shake your booty. That opening cut's not too typical of this six-song disc, though, which leans more toward folk-rock colored tunes with thick, shimmering production, multi-tracked voices, and bemusedly alienated lyrics. There's a lot of variation within that general approach, though, the Beach Boys-meets-cowpoke rock of "You Were Gone" fading in and out of psychedelic weirdness; "Heavy Metal" (which is not a heavy metal song) appropriating some thick crunching synth pop dance grooves; and the proceedings coming to an end with a cover of Robyn Hitchcock's "Heliotrope." Kennedy's high, twisting voice isn't the best vehicle for these ambitious but erratic tunes, and the whole thing sounded rather like a tryout for some ideas floating around his head -- which is what EPs are often for. As EPs go, however, this is an excellent value, the enhanced CD portion adding two music videos and footage of three live performances at Abbey Road Studios, most of these featuring songs from the Kennedy album; there's also a trailer for a Kennedy documentary.