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Gabby La La

Be Careful What You Wish For ...

"Les Claypool Presents" should be recommendation, or warning, enough. The fact that that phrase appears above Gabby La La's name on the cheerfully cartoonish cover of her debut screams that what lies within is probably not going to be included in the next volume of Now That's What I Call Music!

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Recorded for Claypool's label, and with the bassist/percussionist as the only other musician, La La's album is sufficiently offbeat to distance even the most liberal Primus addicts.

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Singing in a quivering, helium-inflected voice that sounds electronically altered even though it's not, La La weaves candy-colored, dreamlike vignettes accompanied by her own sitar, ukulele, accordion, toy piano and Theremine. Claypool adds his distinctive silly-putty bass treatments and whacked-out percussion to the weirdness.

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If La La's wholesome innocence and non-mainstream approach is a schtick, it's a good one. While her wobbly, falsetto vocals are an acquired taste, the naive enthusiasm she projects will win over all but the snootiest listeners.

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The winsome lilt of "Golden Flea" and "Boogie Woogie Man in a Black Dress" can be perceived as offbeat fairy tales or deeper reflections on life's more obtuse dark recesses.

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It's that dichotomy that puts La La on an artistic tightrope. She's either a Tiny Tim-styled novelty act barely deserving of her 15 minutes of fame, or a Tim Burton/David Lynch-influenced auteur with a wicked sense of humor. Either way, she'll push your buttons.