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Toothpick Elbow
Best Wishes
Spiritone Records


This foursome, from Hartland, Wisconsin offers up their first release Best Wishes, a collection of off-the-wall, naïve yet witty, gonzo-guitar driven rock, full of flavor. There's a certain, rough Speedball Baby mix to it all. It's unpredictable, in your mug, farcical, psycho-plotting, kind of like Jonathan Richmond on acid.

Todd Westover, who gained notoriety as the drummer of the Bellrays started working on his own material in L.A. back in 1999, eventually recruiting the likes of Lutefisk's "Dallas" Burnet on guitar and Skabba the Hut's Chris Miller on the drum kit. To complete the outfit, Jeff Porterfield, of Texas Terri & the Stiff Ones joined up for bass and vocal duties.

The fun starts with "Big Orange Moonrise"you're so cool, and incredible, you get me high, when I'm already high... and that's a theme that runs throughout this disk. Once you think you've reached the climax, you realize you're only getting higher with each inventive Boomtown Rat-ish guitar lick, or cockeyed lyric. Some of the more "sing along" moments remind one of the Meat Puppets on one of their "better" albums or Pavement in full-out rock melt-down mode.

On their flip version of John Lennon's "Well, Well, Well", and their classic "Shitcanned", the Elbow achieves a more "I don't care if you think it's stupid" kind of foolhardiness, rather than simply "non-sensical" humor just to be funny.

"I was standing at the window, looking at the land, when they drove up in their Chrysler, three women and a man / they all had a briefcase and that certain kind of stance, they walked in and closed the door and I knew... we were Shitcanned!"

True to form, energy and absurdity grow with each passing track. In "Little Freaked Out", a certain moody Boom Boom Band ambiance drives us invariably towards more feedback and loose-lipped lyrics. Lastly, but not leastly, check-out the seemingly spontaneous backwards intro to "Walking Man’s Blues", where the band plays and sings in reverse! Blurred and badly beaten brilliance that gets better with each listen. "C’mon little Bucky!"

Oscar

Track Listing:

Oh Yah
Big Orange Moonrise
Look At You
Lets Race
Well, Well, Well
Shitcanned
Stupid
Little Freaked Out
I'm Here
Walking Man's Blues

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Mike Doughty



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