Happy In Bag

Thursday, August 11, 2005


My friend and colleague Matt Morgus has started a record label in spite of my sage advice. A CD by Kelpie, the first signing to Birthday Party Records, streets in September. At his request, I wrote a few words about the CD for Matt to use as he wishes. I'm counting on him to pick up my bar tab at the record release party, or if I’m lucky, occasionally let me borrow his car (bumper pictured).
Have you ever seen the children's feature in magazines featuring a half-drawn image? The reader is asked to complete the picture using his or her imagination.

That's the concept behind Lawrence, KS, band Kelpie. Their music is intentionally half-baked.

Kelpie ignores traditional song structure and perversely disregards pop's fundamental formulas. Hey Friends It’s Kelpie lacks choruses and the songs never loop back to repeat the catchy bits.

A few years ago, a massive CD box set of backing tracks and partial mixes from The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds recording sessions was issued. That's what much of Hey Friends sounds like. In fact, in the topsy-turvy alternate world of Kelpie it's possible that the boys abducted Brian Wilson, provided him with a sandbox filled with hallucinogens, and recorded the resulting jam session.

It's liquid sunshine filtered through acid-tinged glasses. And while he's not credited on the disc, Sgt. Pepper must have pieced together the ambitious harmonies, delirious lyrics, funhouse piano, and odd drum patterns while blindfolded.

In spite of- or perhaps due to- Kelpie's willful eccentricity, they may soon join the ranks of contemporary psychedelic pop masters like Olivia Tremor Control, Gomez and Of Montreal.


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