Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Reddy Kilowatt"

Song Title: "Funny How"
Artist: Reddy Kilowatt
Search Term: "Reddy Kilowatt"

This appears to be the only song recorded by a short-lived California band named after an 85-year-old licensed corporate mascot for electrical utilities, who I imagine encourages consumers to use as much electricity as possible. ("When you go out to run errands, make sure to leave your oven on and its door open, pointed directly at the open door of your refrigerator, to ensure that you'll return to a house that's neither too hot nor too cold but juuuuust right!") He's a lightning-based stick figure with a disconcertingly large head and extremities, similar to Coily the Spring Sprite from one of Mystery Science Theater 3000's very greatest shorts. I dislike him.

For a body of work that consists of a single song, Reddy Kilowatt's two-and-a-half-minute career isn't bad at all: A bouncy little number that defies you not to bob your head rhythmically and dorkishly back and forth as you listen. With rapid-fire lyrics about romantic confusion, two distinctive guitar breaks, whimsical percussion, and sugary harmonies, it's so jam-packed with musical ideas that it almost recalls Of Montreal's fertile Gay Parade era. It's a shame the band has put determinedly little effort into the performance. Back in my high school years, when I was such a They Might Be Giants fanboy that I'd listen to anything that reminded me of their nerdy hookiness (the self-titled album by Lincoln remains a favorite of mine for all its cutesy flaws), I probably would have been charmed by the nasal singing and maybe even the butterfingered, out-of-tune lead guitar here. As an old man with a mortgage and a snowblower and a prostate, though, I don't have much patience for bands who go out of their way to undermine perfectly good power-pop songs with intentionally bothersome execution. You rotten kids.

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