Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The 6ths - Heaven in a Black Leather Jacket

(Merge, 1993)

Never was a Stephin Merritt fan. It’s always been about disinterest rather than dislike, even when my earholes were force-fed 69 Love Songs for a few college years. That record’s witticisms and (I’m told) sophisticated bent just didn’t get my motor chooglin’; I far prefer dum-dum to clever when the music’s cutesy. But hey! This 6ths single mostly rights those wrongs. Robert Scott from the Bats (sez the insert; who dat?) sings about kissin’ on a Hollywood girl/guy in the strummy, Scot-pop soundalike title track with the kind of awkward, guileless innocence of bands like the Pastels. Do I make that comparison just because he has an accent? Do I find the whole thing appetizing just because it isn't Stephen M vocalizing? MAYBE. And yet…!

Brisk, squelchy electronic drums give the B-side a goofy appeal, even as Merritt waxes pessimistic about the entertainment biz and – ho ho! – sorta responds to the disc’s A-side, droning on about not finding love in L.A. and how he’s watchin’ it all “rot in the sun.” Two short, simple songs – one sunny, one bleak – both of ’em musically peppy and charming, even if not AT ALL memorable. Total candy!

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