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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

The Midget
Debut (CD)

I had originally intended on writing this review of The Midget (er, vertically challenged people might cringe a bit at the band's moniker) straight up while listening to the disc for the first time. However, one chore led to another and I didn't end up getting here until a few days later.

On a second listen, I'm even more impressed. A great mishmash of styles that defy any sort of general indie classifications, though if you were a music editor pistol-whipping me into divulging some sort of genre I'd have to say "mid-fi quirk-folk". That's because the album sloshes and moshes at times with hints of Silver Jews and Beck. The Lambchop reference probably comes from the filled-to-bursting instrumentation on the songs. You name it, they have it. From lap steel to banjos to analog keys and bizarre unidentifiable noises.

But the songs are definitely songs, and not just multi-instrumental showcases, as the opening track "I Am A Song" states. For "Spector #2" (is that something to do about Phil Spector?) imagine Jad Fair at the helm of the Ronettes. Weird and fun.

For me, the best part of The Midget comes with the combination of Amber Rossino's relatively airy vocals with Sean's more gruff and nasal singing. A little sweet with the sour does the album well. The tradeoff on the 70s groovin' "Look At The Radio" is pretty nice. I mean, I expect Amber would be singing in a shoegaze group like Lush or maybe Azure Ray. So to combine her vocals with Sean's is pretty cool. And I guess not unlike what Galaxie 500 (and later Luna) managed to pull off.

The midtempo "Predictable Self" is one of my favorite tracks with Sean and Amber doubling each other through much of the song, and a fun flute popping up occasionally. "Lesbian Jeep" reminds me of a Beck song, like "Pay No Mind". "Drum 'n Banjo" is like a wigged out version of the Martika song "Toy Soldiers" mixed with Viva Voce. The drowsy, dropped-D "Fish Creek" is a bit more straightforward like a Red House Painters song and was a perfect way to end my day. Nighty night, and don't let The Midget bite.

- review by BY (10.3.05)        

Impko Records
P.O. Box 16593
Seattle, WA 98116

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