FOR THE MOST part, writing a record review is something of a filling-in-the-blanks exercise. So I found it extraordinarily helpful that New York duo the Moldy Peaches have provided the context for me. On the back cover of The Moldy Peaches, which collects the best tracks from a pair of homemade-CD releases, there is a scratchy, handwritten Mad Lib, ready to finish. It reads: "The Moldy Peaches are [adjective]. They sound like [noun]. When I listen to them, I want to [verb]. Too bad they are just a [band name] rip-off!!"
So let's see. Adjective: "freak-folk." Noun: "painfully self-aware, smart-ass teenagers" should do fine, even if it's not entirely accurate--laconic malcontent Adam Green is 20 years old, eight years younger than partner-in-crime Kimya Dawson. Band name could go a few different ways: These champions of lo-fi sound could be called "an American Television Personalities," or "Beat Happening with its mind in the gutter." The verb is the most important part, though, since the Moldy Peaches seduce you into having as much fun as they do.
How is this sense of enjoyment accomplished? According to their lyrics: by "downloading porn with Davo"; by "sucking dick for ecstasy"; and by conflating sex with everything else (the astounding "Steak for Chicken"--which rhymes with "Who'm I gonna stick my dick in?"--juxtaposes dilemmas like "Who is gonna stroke my penis/Hurt my feelings?" and "Whose pussy hole/empty heart needs filling?"). And when the geeky Dawson feels like jumping around in a bunny outfit, he has fun by asking, in one of this album's frequent, sweetly tuneful moments, "Who's Got the Crack?" over a fuzzy acoustic guitar and pounding drum set.
So are the Moldy Peaches jaded? Hardly--particularly when you consider the album's fragile underside, as on "Nothing Came Out," on which Dawson pines for riding bikes, spooning, and watching Hong Kong Phooey. (Of course, even that moment of quietude is broken up by a ridiculous cock-rock solo.) Sounds like a Larry Clark fantasy, but Green and Dawson insist, "We're not those Kids sitting on the couch." In other words, these mother-[verb]ers' piss-take is much smarter than your usual bad-kids-in-the-city-gettin'-messed-up shtick.
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