The Tunahelpers

I'll Have What She's Having (Mimicry)

SXSW Records

The Tunahelpers

I'll Have What She's Having (Mimicry)

Whether Betty Crocker likes it or not, the TunaHelpers are sullying the good name of boxed dinner-mix once again with their second album of devilish fairy-tale folk-punk. I'll Have What She's Having finds Austin's 'Helpers making a jump to Mr. Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance's Mimicry label, but their swirling garble of artful noise retains its homemade demeanor. Vocalist/guitarist Adrienne Sneed plays the wildly eccentric music teacher at a Seventies Montessori school, using her angelic folksinger voice to breathe life into songs like "Turtle" and "Sea Monster," magical sagas starring anthropomorphic animal protagonists. Just imagine concerned parents scratching their chins at the back of the auditorium as their children howl with delight. Not confining their musical vision to guitar pop, the TunaHelpers employ strings, reeds, glockenspiels, and other geegaws to create ragtag arrangements inside a Shimmy Disc-fashioned echo chamber. The slightly unhinged nature of these sounds doesn't become completely twisted until "Blueberry Head" goes off on a tangent about drunken witches tying kitten bones to their broomsticks. Then "Frying Pan" uses a lonely piano melody and that same singsong voice to introduce the prospect of being sautéed alive. The 'Helpers make sure "Askew" lives up to its title by soaking an old country waltz in aural chloroform, while closing number "Haloing Moons" takes liberties with lullabies that would almost certainly result in vividly strange dreams if you accidentally dozed off to it. Fans of reality need not apply here. (Saturday, March 19, 1am @ the Hideout)

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