Okay Paddy

    The Cactus Has a Point

    6

    A solid effort from Scranton, Pennsylvania-based ’60s guitar-pop fanatics Okay Paddy, The Cactus Has a Point starts off too poppy and annoying but slows down to pinch out a melodic and focused second half. The band’s lo-fi junk-jangle is cute but sounds like 1996; opener “Your Bar’s on Fire” and “Put Them in the Cages” are Weezer circa Pinkerton, and that’s not a compliment anymore.

     

    When the members tone it down on “Time for a Tailor,” they’ve got a clear outline to work with, and the song — great Byrds-on-XTC hook and all — is far better for it. “Oo-Man, La-World” is another improvement, anchoring a gorgeous melody over double-beat drums and breakdown guitars. “You Never Worry” and “Fraktur” are two of the softer songs here, both putting My Quinn’s swooshy vocals ahead of the curve and establishing excellent pop structures.

     

    Even the louder stuff works better with some planning; “Where’s the Taste” benefits just as much from its Teenage Fanclub stop-and-start pounding and it does from its aching refrain. They really don’t need all the wattage, though. “Furrier” closes it out with just an acoustic guitar, some light piano and a bit of slide; it goes down easier than anything else on the record.

     

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    Okay Paddy Web site

    Audio links

    Streaming audio

    Prison Jazz Web site

    “Fretboard” MP3