April 14, 2004

Chester Copperpot "The Kings of Kirby"

Forget Abba, forget Ace of Base, and forget even the Hives. My favorite Swedish musical export is Chester Copperpot. Never heard of them? Well, that's not a surprise. In 1996, they released an album called Poems and Short Stories, and no one noticed. Now, they're back with The Kings of Kirby, and it's about time you noticed them because this is some of the most underappreciated indie pop/rock out there. Unfortunately, I don't know if they'll even get their due now because their type of music just isn't trendy right now. Chester Copperpot plays the time-honored brand of simple guitar-bass-drums indie pop/rock (with some handclaps and harmonica here and there) that would have had everyone going nuts in the early '90s. They sound the way Pavement would have sounded, had they been tighter and less experimental.

No, you can't accuse these guys of trying to be avant-garde, but it doesn't matter. What their music lacks in originality, they more than make up for it with catchiness and super-witty lyrics. Yes, SUPER-witty lyrics. The members of Chester Copperpot have a sense of humor and they're not afraid to flaunt it. The song, "My Parents' Fridge" is a great example. It's the true story of one time around Christmas when the singer made a sandwich with 4-year-old mayonnaise and his dad just stood out of view and laughed at him when he tried to eat it. Or if you think that's a little too slapstick, consider what I believe to be the album's strongest track, "Whine, Women, and Song". The song is sung from the perspective of someone bemoaning the "weak-ass songs dealing with personal problems" he hears on the radio, telling all the artist to "cut the crap please, you've got it great. You've got the world on a plate, 'cause after all, you're on the radio, while I'm here working hard and feeling low." While it already sounds like a great song, it gets even better because the singer paints himself as something of a hypocrite because he loves to whine himself, revealing that "If everything went my way, it would drive me insane."

The songs aren't all totally humorous, though. Many deal with their obsessions with girls and wanting to do things with them (the first song on the album is called "Let's Make Out"), and they also sing a lot about getting drunk and partying. Classic rock and roll material, but done with indie cred! There's also another standout track that I love, called "I Never Dreamed I'd Be Mowing Lawns For a Living". The song is a virtual anthem for anyone stuck in McJob Hell. In that song, the singer laments how "they're making me do stuff that I don't have time for. Sometimes it feels like they're running my life. Get up bright and early, work through the whole day. I guess that is all right, but I want to have fun tonight." It sounds upbeat when they sing it, but thinking about being stuck in that sort of predicament brings a tear to my eye.

So, there you go. Fun, catchy music with great lyrics. What more could you ask for from an album, besides hipster-ish post-rock posturing?

--Eric Wolf

Band Website: http://www.chesterpowerpop.com/
Label Website: http://www.popkid.com/

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