Self

Self

DreamWorks could have released Self's second full-length, this year's Breakfast With Girls, right into the cutout bin; this nifty little record's been greeted with as much fanfare as Christmas at an Orthodox rabbi's house. Too bad too, since Breakfast is a rather satisfying, uh, late-night snack -- precocious new-wave pop-pop-pop dolled up with LL Cool J, Howlin' Wolf, and Ella Fitzgerald samples. Or, as we called this in 1996, Beck, Weezer, and/or the eels (only without the suicidal impulses). Essentially the brainchild of Murfreesboro, Tennessee's Matt Mahaffey -- who "plays every instrument he owns and some that he doesn't," according to the liner notes -- and his extensive record collection, Self's one of those bands that exists today to disappear tomorrow. Hey, you don't title a song "Meg Ryan" and expect it to mean anything to an audience 20 years down the road -- even if the tune is a rather breezy little sing-along daydream about having a movie star for a wife. Ask Bree Sharp.

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Mahaffey's problem is that he's too late to the promised land; there's only so much gold to be found in them thar hills, and Beck and E have hauled off the biggest chunks. Worse, Self signed on with DreamWorks, home to the eels and a subsidiary of Beck and Weezer's own Geffen -- which only hints at the likelihood that Dust Bro. Mike Simpson signed the competition to keep the boys under wraps. It's unfortunate, since songs such as "Kill the Barflies," "Uno Song" (or, the Captain without Tenille), "Paint By Numbers," and "Sucker" deserve to be heard by more than the handful who buy this disc at used-CD stores -- where, no doubt, rock critics took their copies as soon as they arrived in the mail. image

R.W.

 
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