Thursday, May 30, 2002

Here is the church and here is the steeple
We sure are cute for two ugly people
I don't see what anyone can see in anyone else
But you.

THE SWEETEST LOVE SONG EVER? I think it might be.

An unlikely little guy-gal duo succeeded the Strokes as the we're-staying-put band in my Saturn's tape deck. The White Stripes? Nope. "Fell in Love With a Girl" is an all-time-great single, but the rest of the Stripes' work isn't doing it for me. That song might be finding a new home at the end of my cassette of the Strokes' "Is This It."

No, I'm talking about a very unlikely, very little duo. If I hadn't learned that they, as it turns out, opened for the Strokes on tour, I'd have thought the Moldy Peaches were a couple of kids with a Casio keyboard, a great sense of humor and a lot of nerve (not unlike my little brother Kenneth and his early-'80s classic "Kidnapped at the Bowling Alley"). Well, the Peaches are all that, but they're also taken seriously, more or less, as a rock 'n' roll band. There are vocal critics as well as devoted fans, and both sides are right.

This is simple stuff. Deceptively simple, the fans will say. Stupid, the critics will say. The fans are closer to the truth. The album hopscotches among genres, but the sound (if not the content) is almost always childish. The sound is much less polished than the Strokes and yet much less harsh as well. The content, on the other hand, is often filthy. It's a subversive delivery mechanism. These two can barely sing, but for the most part they're not using volume to cover that up. The punk ethos comes to "Romper Room." You'll never guess the second half of the rhyming couplet that begins "Who mistook the steak for chicken?"

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