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Mittens on Strings

Let's Go to Baba's

(Soungs; US: 6 Oct 2009; UK: import)

There’s a song on here called “Lou Reed Says”, and the not-so-subtle reference to the Velvet Underground speaks to at least half of what’s going on when you play Let’s Go to Baba’s. The deadpan vocals and jangly guitars certainly offer a nod to Reed and company, but thankfully, Mittens on Strings don’t follow its idols too far down that dark, druggy path. Instead, these guys use those rattling sounds to make bright and sometimes pretty goofy pop. But it works, and damned if Mittens on Strings don’t have some range.


The twangy, dust shuffle of “Big Brother” is intricate but down-to-earth and charming. Things can get moody at times, like on the surprisingly emotive “Lumbering Giant” or the cloudy, string-heavy “Middle Ages”. The band never forgets, on songs like “Flaming Pig”, to brings us right back into the sunshine. If you want your pop music to take itself seriously, this might not be the stuff for you; however, if you want your songs stuffed with ideas (horns, shifts in guitar sound, and genre hopping) and your pop music to stick in your head awhile, then Let’s Go to Baba’s is right up your well-lit alley.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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