In 1984-1985, the Tinklers (Chris Mason and Charles Brohawn) met X.X.O.O., a faction of infamous amateur rockers Half Japanese, for a recording session. As far as listeners might be interested in both groups' lo-fi, D.I.Y. anti-songs, this is a perfect match. X.X.O.O. existed to allow the Fair brothers the chance to play quieter music than their noisy main outfit. They rightfully complement the Tinklers' silly folk songs with hesitant toy instruments and off-key harmony vocals. Six songs appeared on a 7" EP released on the Italian label Music à la Coque in 2001. Each side begins with a different take of the 30-second "Black Dog," probably the stupidest ditty either group ever recorded (said in a good way, of course). "Mutations" lines up disastrous consequences to nuclear power (this was the mid-'80s) and "Thinking Too Much" pairs existential questions like "If the universe is endless/What's on the other side?" with "What's it gonna be like in/Junior high?" If you have a thing for Pascal Comelade's toy ensembles or Only a Mother, this is worth seeking out. If the idea of grown men singing off-key repels you, don't bother. The sound quality is approximate, as could be expected.
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