Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It's been said that American girls can't wait to appear grown-up, but Asian women spend their adult life acting like little girls - dressing in school-girl uniforms, giggling as they obsess over "cute" things. Gabby La La, who sings in an Asian-accented Betty Boop voice about a girl fighting "The Boogie-Woogie Man" hiding in her bedroom or admonishing "Too many sweets - brush your teeth!" would certainly seem to fit that characterization. But what's ultimately most impressive about the CalArts-trained Ms. La La is her command of a variety of unusual instruments, and her apparent inability to make "normal" music. Imagine, if you can, Tom Wait's band backing Shonen Knife.

Her charming album "Be Careful What You Wish For," the only non-Primus-related album on Cali indie-rockers Primus' Prawn label, fits no known musical genre - the sitar-driven "Golden Flea" feels like a raga, but I doubt Ravi Shankar would sing about a "flea who can be the life of the party"; Frank Booth would no doubt have a big question mark over his head upon hearing Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" scored cheerfully for accordion, hand-drums and finger-snaps; elsewhere, she plinks away on a toy piano, sings about eggs, elves, and pirates, throws in some theremin-squelches on one tune, and supposedly tap-dances during her shows (unlike Singing Sadie, however, she didn't record her dancing). Except for Primus' Les Claypool playing bass on a few songs, it's mostly Gabby's show.

"Backpack" - Ukulele-funk (when was the last time you read that phrase) about leprechauns and mermaids. Actually uses the word "scrumdiliumptious."
"Twins" - The finest duet for toy piano and sitar you'll hear this year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

GABBY is nothing short of amazing... did I mention amazing?