Kookoolegit (Monofonus Press)
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Sept. 26, 2008
Pillow QueensKookoolegit (Monofonus Press)
On its debut LP, Austin foursome Pillow Queens takes poppy guitar rock and unfluffs it. Unlike sonic dad Stephen Malkmus, who always manages to sound whiny, singer/guitarist Duncan Malashock sounds genuinely perplexed at the world around him, reflected in vocals that jump from a slurred growl to helium-pitched falsetto. Much like the band's name, lyrics tend toward pop-culture references and bizarre domestic quandaries, but underneath songs about flutes and talking dogs is mostly solid pop. The interplay between Malashock and guitarist Will Slack calls to mind Pavement forefathers Television with snaky, hooky lines wrestling on the caffeinated "Real Cool Head" and "Difficult House." "Lava Lamp" is the album's centerpiece, a lovely neon swirl of chiming guitars that manages to make outdated dorm-room schlock sound romantic. That's part of the charm of Kookoolegit: nostalgia baked in dark wit and sharp riffs.