TRIPPING DAISY Piranha (Island)

Dallas-based pop-punkers Tripping Daisy have produced that rare thing, a single that I honestly can’t compare to anything I’ve heard before. "Piranha" has lots of big guitars, a student-disco-friendly swaggering beat and a refreshing lack of pretence, perhaps as you’d expect from a band whose latest album is called "I Am An Elastic Firecracker". "Creature" is an eight minute meander, during which the singer reveals himself to be a graduate of ex-Mercury Rev vocalist David Baker’s School Of Silly Voices, while "High" woozily conjures up pleasant memories of Smashing Pumpkins’ "Spaceboy". All very pleasant, if not earth-shattering.

TRIPPING DAISY Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb (Island)

"Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb" is the third long-player from this Dallas-based quintet, and has much Added Value for a Captain Beefheart enthusiast such as myself as it was produced by one Eric Drew Feldman, a Magic Band member circa 1980 who has since been logged in the company of P J Harvey, Frank Black and dEUS, with his production reputation marking him down as the Steve Albundy of weird.

Certainly he gives "Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb" the trademark thunderous polyrythmic cacophony possessed by the good Captain’s later albums, but he can’t give Tripping Daisy the flair that their songs so desperately need. Their music seems to plod in a self-consciously strange fashion that all the weird lyrics and scrambled melodies in the world can’t disguise. Compare Tripping Daisy with the mighty Guided By Voices for example: GBV bash out delicious albums of 20+ tracks apiece without major label or big-name producer support, their songs veering wildly between impenetrable, scratchy fireside oddities and Big Star-esque pure pop beauty. Tripping Daisy, on the other hand, trudge straight through the middle of it - they’ve got the exuberance, they’ve got diamond-hard production attack, but their songs are just a confused mess that sinks the good efforts of all concerned. Calling a song "Your Socks Have No Name" isn’t the fasttrack to success on its own, but if they could write a song that lived up to a title like that Tripping Daisy would be worth listening to.