Music

Still, it wasn't antirock, either—Charry's crushed-bottle guitar sound added a savory streak of ugliness when his Comic Strip-via-Dust Brothers bloops and tippy-taps threatened to get too sugary. His songs all seem like they should end with a voice-over of "By Hasbro!" though they're too benevolent to try to sell anything but themselves. Too airy to be kitsch, as perky and bold as colored plastic, they get straight to the hook, whack it in with the help of whatever crackly bits of AM-radio orchestration are lying around, and run away giggling. Their model is clearly TV jingles, which is a cute idea—nobody ever went aesthetically bankrupt underestimating the attention span of pop listeners. (At one point, the plastic head announced that he was bored and demanded to listen to the radio around his neck; it was a lead-in for another tune, of course, but it wouldn't have been funny if it'd been possible that anyone wasbored.) As inspired a joke as it is, Charry's mechanized caricature of a beat group is also an irresistible piece of retro-futurist salesmanship, Reddy Kilowatt style. —Douglas Wolk

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