Please don't confuse the Clumsy Lovers with the Barenaked Ladies. Yes, both bands hail from the Great White North, boast slightly salacious names, and love to joke around. But the Lovers ground their clever, catchy music in country and bluegrass roots; for them, the fiddle and banjo are just as important as a guitar and keyboard. It gives them the sort of crazy-quilt sound that appeals to scruffy jam-band fans, indie-rock eggheads, and dour No Depression devotees.
Smart Kid, the Vancouver band's most recent record, is filled with wonderful weirdos, from Bobby Banjo (who doesn't know Pearl Jam from Elvis Presley, but professes to be Claire Danes' husband) to the title track's tale of a church youth-group member gone bad. The disc also contains less twisted tunes, like "Save for You," "Okay Alright," and "Stand Up,"which are nothing less than irresistible poppy gems. "Stand Up" even garnered the band video play on CMT. Aren't you glad you won't have to hear "A Million Dollars" again?