The Frontier Brothers

Space Punk Starlet (Self-released)

The Frontier Brothers are what might have happened if the love children of Randy Newman and Stephen Malkmus were born, as the Brothers claim to have been, in the Betelgeuse planetary system, then raised in Fort Worth and transplanted to Austin.

The giddily fun songs on the band's first full-length release, Space Punk Starlet, are full of grandiose piano hooks and singer Marshall Galactic's slurred non sequiturs, like the title question of "How Do You Make Movies When You're Under the Sea" or his professed love for his "Technical Electronic Supersonic Robot (T.E.S.S.)" in two of the disc's strongest tracks. Yet, as well-crafted as the songs may be, they also sound tossed-off and chaotic, as if they're likely to fall apart at any moment. On song after song, organic sounds like the acoustic guitar of "Plastic Bag" and Neil Young-inspired harmonica of "The Future Is" clash with fuzzy guitar and distorted synthesizers to create joyful messes.

"I've searched the stars, looked in bars, for the space punk starlet of my Hollywood dreams," Galactic sings in the title track. But he's willing to settle for less than human, too, as the album closes with his desperate shouts to his sexy machine in "T.E.S.S. You Are a Wonderful Robot, Stay With Me All the Time."

 
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