CD Review 

BARBARELLA
69
(A.D. Select Records)
*

This album makes me want to cry, not because I'm overcome with emotion, but because it makes me feel like I am stuck in a mirrored, fun-house version of Las Vegas, where I've stayed out all night snorting cheap, dirty meth, and my hair is starting to rebel against my follicles in that creepy, speedy way. Obviously taking their name from Barbarella the movie and referencing Duran Duran the band Oregon foursome, Barbarella have new waver riffs, disco-inspired bass lines, and vocalist Christian Dyer does a Simon LeBon as best he can. Oy! The gross popularity of Duran Duran was kind of a fluke, a bewildering historical phenomenon not to be fucked with. Ironically enough, the best cut on 69 (which describes a position in which two parties can perform oral sex acts concurrently, in case you didn't know) is entitled "White Powdered Love" (possibly explaining the aural feeling of metamphetamines), and comes as close to anything from Rio or Seven and the Ragged Tiger without actually committing out-and-out plagiarism (including a bass line imported straight from "Rio," the song). Partly because of a weirdly compressed production aesthetic and super-slick, pretentious songwriting, 69 is enough to drive you to monasticism. JULIANNE SHEPHERD


THE OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL
Presents: Singles and Beyond
(Emperor Norton)
*

THE SUNSHINE FIX
The Future History of the Sunshine Fix
(Kindercore)
**

Don't you just loooove a quirky cutie pie, the sort of unique spirit that dresses differently than everyone else, tells their own jokes, and is generally adorable for being so odd? Invariably, though, don't the same qualities that make them so lovely end up becoming annoying? (How many times have I heard, "I just don't find you funny anymore?") Such is the case with The Olivia Tremor Control, the shining jewel of the Elephant Six collective, once so charming for being such willfully pretentious, shaggy Beatles/Beach Boys wannabes. While this new singles collection is intended to be a hodgepodge (20 tracks! Good God!), I'm tired of their continually unfocused, collage-style releases. There was life after Sgt. Pepper's, I'm afraid to say, and every inch of tape that has captured sound isn't golden. The Sunshine Fix (itself an Olivia Tremor Control offshoot) fare better, but then again, this disc only has five songs, so it's harder to lose the plot. A little funk, a little country--it appears they finally found a used copy of Let It Be. Perhaps the Elephant Six herd needs to be thinned a little. Shall we drop down to a fab Four or Five? Where's Mark David Chapman when you need him? JAMIE S. RICH

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