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Casper & the Cookies

The Optimist's Club

(Happy Happy Birthday To Me; US: 25 Jul 2006; UK: Available as import)

I love cookies, and Casper wasn’t one of the ghosts on my enemy lists. So this band is a natural lock then, correct? Well, yes, no and yes again. The sound is artsy but still simplistic, particularly on “Krotenwanderung” which resembles Ms. Harry if she was influenced by a current day David Byrne. From there, “Kiss a Friend” sounds like it falls between the Polyphonic Spree and that band whose lips are always flaming, with a touch of Barrett-era Floyd and the Beatles thrown in. Nonetheless, not everything the band touches turns to gold, as is the case with the disconnected and quirky “Barking In the Garden of Ill Repute”. Some songs are heavy on effects, including the festive “Duchamp’s Camera”, yet the band is capable of turning on a dime, as with the Sloan-like “Sid From Central Park”. The first real highlight is the party-filled, good-time and rollicking “Hey Mr. Superstar” that soars above a boring title track. The quirky factor is high, but be an optimist and see the goodness in the album. There’s a lot of that.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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