Conor Meads, vocalist for this San Diego pop-punk quartet, has a fondness for the overwrought theatrics of Elton John and the late Freddie Mercury. Trouble is that his innate ability is more in line with your local high-school punk. Meads and his three cohorts somehow manage to make this dichotomy work in their favor on their intriguing debut, Oliver Under the Moon. The predominant use of piano adds a touch of structured flair and authentic sensitivity missing from some of Pistolita's emo/indie compatriots. Intimate, intense and amusingly pretentious, songs such as "Cupid," "Papercut" and "Pity Refrain" are big ideas beaten senseless by an amateur cast, a little league team playing in ill-fitting uniforms, looking up into the bright lights and miraculously catching the fly ball.


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