Pio Mazzotti’s Teenie Fantastic occupies that space where speed(y) metal, getting jazzy with those patented Captain Beefheart–style splayed guitarisms, turns into pop blues. For that matter, Skip James might have appreciated how the extra beats and seemingly useless nonriffs of “Bow Now” and “Dead Men Tell Tales” derive (distantly, of course) from his 75-year-old “I’m So Glad,” itself a piece of pop detritus turned just ugly enough.
This group of Brooklynites with funny names (Orson Wellzotti Mazzotti, Shuggy Sugarelli) achieves on “Pretty One Almost Done” and “Chernafernapernamerntz” what Pavement (at their noisiest) or the Grifters (at their most desperate) never quite did: They make creepiness sound fun, almost healthy. When they sing, “It’s a shame it’s gone by the wayside,” they might mean friend or next of kin or the vanished warmth of a pop music past that can now be retrieved only piece by piece, and even then only partially reassembled.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 4, 2005