Music » Livewire

They Shoot Horses Don't They

With the Very Knees. Thursday, August 17, at the Church in Tremont.

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This British Columbia sextet thrives on a loose-limbed, goofy charm. Its debut, Boo Hoo Hoo Boo, sounds like a carnival sideshow manned by Ooompa Loompas with high school band instruments. The musical aesthetic recalls the Danielson Famile -- slightly unhinged vocals sliding down bustling pop melodies and catching air over brief snatches of dissonance and musical chaos. Fans of Daniel Johnston will appreciate the Canadians' skewed worldview, expressed in songs about alternative-universe utopias and new religions started in the forest while "living off the bugs." A pair of horns that occasionally devolve into skronk and a percolating Casio keyboard join the standard bass-guitar-drums. Combined with singer-guitarist Nut Brown's vocals -- which recall Fred Schneider of the B-52's -- the effect is as catchy as it is unsettling. It's like art-school dropouts baked out of their minds on B.C. bud.

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