October 2, 2008

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McCarthy Trenching,
Calamity Drenching
Team Love Records, Sept. 23
I’d rather dunk my head in a tub of earwigs than listen to indie-folk-pop, but I sort of love this junk. As a potential savior of post-Dylan Kumbaya-down-tempo itself, singer Dan McCarthy looks less ready for that than taking on a bit part reprising the shrimpier of the two bug experts in Silence of the Lambs. Like a Napoleon Dynamite who accidentally walked onstage during open-mike night, his lyrics are intimate, albeit not the sort of intimate that intimates that the singer thinks of nothing but hir own needs, weaknesses and/or warped notion of utopia. McCarthy’s ever-present, mischievous mike puts you right there with him as he stumbles over a chair trying to get to his banjo or Ovation, whatever he feels like hiding behind while delivering his super-shlub smart-aleck poems in that shaky Willie Nelson Does Bob Dylan warble of his.

He’ll never get groupie girls with lyrics this smart either (try the snippet “an eye for annihilation” for one), but it’s all good, being that he’s given up on both Catholicism and romantic love. Which spells freedom, the freedom to write droopy, awesome, intimate little ditties about what really matters: horse racing, lousy weather, and fast-fading memories of piano lessons. Oh, and the importance of removing the tab from your can of Pabst so your ’stache doesn’t get stuck. Anything past that is More Than We Wanted to Know, isn’t it? The band hits Great Scott in Boston on Nov. 3. A Eric W. Saeger