THE BEST SONG on the Doubleclicks' 2010 EP Beta Testing 1-2-3 is "This Fantasy World," and the best part goes: "Yes I like playing Dungeons & Dragons with you/Yes I do, yes I like playing Dungeons & Dragons/But I want to get you out of this fantasy world/And into my fantasy, and into my bed/Where we could have sex."
"I don't know if we ever really intended to write 'geeky music'—and that's not exclusively what we do," says Angela Webber, who, on guitar and ukulele, makes up half of the Doubleclicks, the other half being her cello-playing sister, Aubrey. (Full disclosure: Around the time of Beta Testing 1-2-3, Angela was a reporter for the Mercury). "I write songs about things I think about, which are love, depression, and games and movies."
Thanks to the "games and movies" part of that answer, the Doubleclicks are usually crammed into the nerdfolk genre—but spending time with Beta Testing 1-2-3 and their new album, Chainmail and Cello, reveals something more affecting. A surprising number of musicians pander to geeks eager to hear anyone acknowledge Firefly, but the Doubleclicks' music—sharp and clever, with a heavy dose of melancholy—comes from a more universal place. Sure, "Will They or Won't They" drops a Battlestar reference, but also a gut punch: "You and I are kinda like Starbuck and Apollo/In that after all this, this is going to end in an anticlimactic way," Angela sings. "In these stories we want to know/Will they or won't they/But with us, I know the answer/We won't."
"We've got sad songs and funny songs—that's pretty much the two types of things we write," Angela says. "But our sad songs are sad in a funny way, and our funny songs are mostly funny in a sad way.
"At first," she continues, "I mostly wrote the songs by myself, but now it's more collaborative. We both brainstorm ideas, and then Aubrey will work on putting together a musical form while I write lyrics. One notable exception is 'A Lullaby for Mr. Bear,' which started as a sweet lullaby that Aubrey wrote. I added a verse about horrifying monsters that feed on dreams and destroy children's souls.
"That was a pretty even collaboration."