The cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t always necessarily apply to CDs. That’s an extremely good thing when it comes to Okay Paddy’s debut full-length album, The Cactus Has a Point. The title’s distinctive sense of humor matches well with the album’s fantastical artwork to describe the album as a whole. The funny thing is that what’s actually on the album is what’s sort of deceiving.
Okay Paddy was started by cousins Pat Finnerty and Mike Quinn, though later joined by friends John Parise and Brian Craig before releasing debut EP, Hunk. Boyhood friends as well as kin, Finnerty and Quinn started writing songs at an early age, and are quoted saying that they grew up “Playing tennis rackets with each other and marking up songs on a street named Electric,” and its this youthful, goofball spirit that sets the tone for their new album.
The intro to the album’s first track “Your Bar’s On Fire” is the first indication that this album is nothing like what the colorful artwork might suggest. Soon, the song turns into a Weezer like melody that is quite accessible and easy on the ears. Soon enough, the song starts to throw curves at the listener with random Beatle-bending lyrics like “Jojo was a man who thought he was a woman.” The vocal track itself isn’t too sharp and distinct, so the listener ponders over what he just heard and questions even his own ears.
From here, the music changes. To be correct, the whole album changes. The album takes a stream-of-consciousness type journey through many differing styles of music. The listener is whisked away for an ethereal ride and spots very brief glimpses of Ramones-sounding vocals on “Where’s the Taste” and percussion and vocal rhythms reminiscent of matt pond PA on the track “Fraktur.” This surreal journey through the mind of music creates a completely new soundscape for the listener to enjoy that cannot quite be categorized in any defined genre. Even to call this “indie” would not touch upon the sound within, other than the fact that this album was self-produced.
Okay Paddy’s first full-length effort is a great one. The Cactus Has a Point is like the end result of a curious kid tinkering around with a chemistry set. It’s fun and mixes a great number of things too hard concentrate too much on. It’s much better to not think about it and to let the mad experiment play itself out, enjoying all of the explosions and crazy, musical crystals that develop in the end.
Tripping Daisy – Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb
Weezer – Pinkerton
Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted