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Published: 2005/06/02
by Brian Gearing

Be Careful What You Wish For – Gabby La La

Somewhere between a cute, blonde-haired pre-schooler with a ukulele and the lady on the phone at the Chinese carry out who doesn't realize someone dosed the egg drop soup, Gabby La La is an enigma: Is that her tonque in her cheek or a wad of Big League Chew waiting to be placed under record label board room tables? Perhaps her childish mystery is the reason the equally quirky Les Claypool signed her to his Prawn Song label. Or maybe he's just bored with all that talent he's had to deal with lately.

Though classically trained on sitar, La La withholds her musical gifts in favor of an alternately charming and irritating playful spirit. The opening title track, "Be Careful What You Wish for Cause It Might Come True," gives good advice. Those bemoaning the pointless varieties of vanilla in contemporary music might get more than they bargained for in Gabby La La. While the album's two opening tracks, "Be Careful…" and "Backpack" have a cheery lyrical bounce, their pop appeal doesn't dilute the utter weirdness of La La's debut.

Her sitar-backed nonsensical screeching on "Golden Flea" is ear-splitting, and the accordion polka existential innuendo of "Butter and Eggs" raises more questions than it even attempts to answer. "Little Fortune Cookie" applies a similarly childish depth of perception to the symbolism of everyday nothings, but intended or not, her new angles have been explored before, most often by fingerpainters and paste eaters.

Claypool's bass adds a musical depth to the shallow lyrical waters of "Twins" while La La's sitar and toy piano make a surreal pair, and her shaky alto clears the dreamy smoke of "In and Out of Dreaming." The choppy guitar of "Pirates" rocks a little more than the album's Seuss-ish fare, especially with Claypool's low-end, and the lyrical imagery manages to travel to a place beyond the album's goofy truisms.

Whether or not Gabby La La is actually aware of her own oddity is irrelevant. While Be Careful What You Wish For… is undoubtedly new and different, its distinctiveness alone doesn’t save it. Even for the most patient listener, Be Careful is an acquired taste for special occasions. Most will find it as unbearable as your parents found that cassette of children’s songs. Fortunately for most of us, we don’t legally have to love Les Claypool as much as your parents love you.

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