Casper & The Cookies at SoundsXP

A band from Athens, Georgia who’ve been around since 1998, this is their fourth album of smart, hooky pop. The “Casper” of the name is Jason NeSmith, who was part of the touring band for Of Montreal around Satanic Panic in the Attic, and the Elephant 6 connection that this suggests is partially confirmed when you hear Dingbats, but equally there’s a strong echo of 80s/90s US college rock. Crucial touchstones include the DBs (‘Sleep Defence’ especially), Game Theory’s quirky alt.rock and XTC’s strange, melodic pop. ‘Drug Facts’ has scattergun lyrics and myriad twists and turns while the weirdness of ‘Omni’ combines crazy Devo-ish 80s zig-zag rhythms with some of Apples in Stereo’s freakier moments (“I’m omni-directional/ the source is you”). The standout track ‘Lemon Horses’ wins for its superb catchy chorus and howling, showing that for all the oddness there’s a catchy core to this odd-pop.