Big Breakfast

Why Do You Touch Things That Aren't Yours?

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With a fair amount of the Shrimper Inland Empire scene appearing somewhere on this entertaining record -- guests include such stalwarts as Peter Hughes and co-producer Bob Durkee -- the merry five-piece that is, or rather was, Big Breakfast comes up with an album that defies many '90s indie stereotypes. The sound is crisp, not restrained or fuzzy, the playing sharp, and the end result is a nicely aggro treat that's as friendly as it is forceful, much more a product of various '80s new wave/alt roots than the era of home tape recordings. Lisa Kuta is a perfect frontwoman for the whole thing, with lyrics that are guardedly emotional and sung that way -- warm but wary and all the more striking for it, not afraid to let go a bit here and there. The rhythm section of Steve Cronk and Chris Damore works especially well, dictating the feel of the songs along with Kuta more than anything else. Elsewhere, as Kuta sings at one point, "His solos are never crap/I have a friend named Kevin Trapp." Indeed, besides his wry, not-quite-there singing style, Trapp pulls off some great guitar work, steering well away from post-grunge sludge in favor of far more intriguing gods like the Go-Betweens and New Order as templates. When he does fire up the feedback, he only does so for just enough impact. Add in Bill Magdriagz's keyboards for extra dollops of sound (check his fun melody on "Continuation High School Love Affair") and all is very well. Other highlights: the soaring statement of intent that is "Googlephonics," the merry "J. Curve," and the very in-joke-worthy "El Slobbo de Mosso." There are also some state-of-the-art '90s pop-culture references very intentionally played for laughs, thus the introductory lyrics of "Primordial Maracas" as sung by Trapp: "Me llamo Cornholio/I need TP for my bunghole."