PopMatters home | short takes home | archivesPopMatters Music Short Takes
Cigarbox Planetarium, Cigarbox Planetarium (Oh! Tonito)
One look at Cigarbox Planetarium's self-titled CD and you're thinking, "this is a comedy album, right?" The back cover has a photo of the duo inside a cheesy-looking wreath of roses; guitarist Andy Charneco appears to have three arms. Then there's the song titles, including "Zombie, Please", "Trouble Is My Beeswax" and "Frankenstein on the Beach". But the actual CD isn't just a joke, more like a tribute to various strains of instrumental music, both kitschy and serious. Think Martin Denny and Esquivel but also Ennio Morricone and Joe Meek. Surf rock, lounge music, cocktail jazz, cheesy sci-fi movie soundtracks, and so on . . . Cigarbox Planetarium run through it all at once, with panache and ample instrumental chops.