Phineas Gage

Travelling Sideshow

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With a viola, an organ, an accordion, and a guest horn section, Seattle's Phineas Gage can't help sounding like the Travelling Sideshow of their album's title; even in their genre exercises -- the faux-Elvis "Johnny Vegas," the hard-rocking "Thrift Store" -- the band's notes loop and swirl like a calliope outside a freakshow. Throw in David Crellin's Tom Waits-inflected vocals and the sometimes depressing, sometimes explosive irony of the lyrics, and you've got a more than passable specimen of geek chic. It may be slightly pretentious, but it's generally fun, too.