By The Wooden Spoons
The Wooden Spoons are made up of identical twins with an ear (or four) for lush melodies and the gift of good storytelling. In numerous respects they are similar to Ben Folds Five - both have/had fewer members than their thick, rounded sounds would suggest (shouldn't that be Ben Folds 3?) and both groups share a love of piano combined with layered backing vocals and a summery outlook.
'The Camera Man' is an organ-led shanty about a photographer fed up with his part in the family trade. The song enjoyably plonks along, with the backing vocals and chorus breaks giving it a real sense of fun. Piano sits comfortably in the mix before finding its way to the front, while the guitar meanders along without ever over-imposing itself.
With ominously witty lyrics such as 'Only one more day so we can scrape your pay', "The Tax Man" somehow makes a cheery song out of one of the world's most hated figures, and a paedophilic figure at that. Again, organ and piano are at the forefront of the song which is driven on by a tambourine heartbeat. When the guitar speaks up, it highlights the impressive craft and thought that has gone into the arrangements.
'The Weather Man' has the oompa-oompa rhythm of the fairground, with glockenspiel and organ lending it an amusing quirkiness. The main vocal is accompanied by the sound of a quiet voice singing through a megaphone - it adds a great quality to the tune, though it's not easy to describe why - it just works.
Bonus track 'China Box' is slightly jazzier and the crisp piano sound inevitably draws comparisons with the Dresden Dolls. The song lacks the Dolls' cynical bite, but none of the excellent musicianship which seeps right the way through the E.P. Such a rich sound COULD make a whole album hard to take in one sitting, but with the skills at their disposal, The Wooden Spoons are sure to have more tricks up their sleeves.