‘Dingbats’ is the latest album from Casper & The Cookies. I’ll admit upfront I haven’t heard any of the previous records so can’t say if this is the band’s classic album or not but it is a cool and interesting, if slightly odd indie record.
It kicks in straight away,from the odd drum patterns that litter opener Improvisamente Ardito. The cool vocals duel with the guitars that aren’t quite sure what to do, as the tune build and builds, going in circles once more and making for a compelling opener.
After a short interlude of down-tuned and repetitive noise that might be doomed to repeat, it breaks into an odd funk dance tune with a pretty cool wonk-pop sensibility as they read the Drug Facts sheet included here. Are they being read post-overdose? Possibly you might sing this after having your stomach pumped.
Jennifer’s house is paean to a house that is a refuge from anything they want to get away from when they were kids. It sounds like a cool place to hang out and finds Kay singing like a modern Lene Lovich. Yes I want to go to Jennifer’s house as long as we don’t find Jennifer’s body there.
Amphetamines is not the best song ever to have been granted the title, but it’s still a pretty good speedfreak tune about a typical speed experience with some almost No Wave-ish guitars and backing like John Lurie is directing them.
Lemon Horses is a tune that needs to be heard again and again. It has cool, slightly high vocals that are almost a blues song about getting stopped by the police and how they use being in a band as an excuse as they talk to a policeman. The chilled out backing make it almost like a JJ Cale song for the twenty teens and it’s oddly effective. It dissolves into Hermetic Amusements: all odd noises as an intro to Spin 1/2 that is an odd almost prog-indie with a bit of an 80’s feel: sort of like Lou Miami meets early Throwing Muses.
The B-side opens with Thing For Ugly: a real herky jerky song of lust which sounds like not all the music is being played as if the producer has turned down half the tracks.Again, it’s oddly effective in a way with the catchy and cool keyboards that come in later.
Omni ups the keyboard oddity with a song of doomed desperation. It’s almost a cry for help, as if They Came From The Stars I Saw Them had written a break-up argument song with that out of time funkiness they did so well, only with about 5 elements less than they would have used, as he begs “Baby Please Stop crying.”
White Noise takes a decided left turn to the rest of the album by sounding like it could be the Incredible String Band crossed with Fairport Convention. It’s full-on folk whimsy musically but lyrically it’s a good murder ballad told from the killer’s perspective. And twisted through an David Lynch-style lens.
Sleep, Defence is an upbeat argument song; full on pulsating wonk pop almost like a modern Greg Kihn song. It’s catchy and at the same time you need to listen carefully to figure out the argument he has with a sleeping partner.
The album closes with When The Moon Was In Command. This features a quiet castanet opening for a slightly out of time march almost at funeral pace. It’s a quite moving vignette to a dead relationship that ends with some strings that sound like they were stolen from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical but thankfully far cooler than that sounds on paper. Please don’t let that analogy put you off, for this is a pretty cool and interesting album.