Drink Up Buttercup - Born and Thrown on a Hook (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Drink Up Buttercup

Born and Thrown on a Hook (2010)

Yep Roc

Once upon a time, there was a Philadelphia band named the Teeth. The Teeth were awesome. They made '60s-style pop music but with a scary, drugged-out feeling to it. Which is, to say, if one were to have a bad trip at Cirque du Soleil, the Teeth's broken carnival pop would have made an excellent soundtrack.

Now, does Drink Up Buttercup sound exactly like the Teeth? No, not exactly. I just want to point out that Philly has the market cornered on warped Beach Boys/Beatles-style tunes for the new millennium. Suck on that, Brooklyn!

Now, if you are thinking, "Well, fuck, man, does the world really need another band that's making music inspired by 1963-1973?", you do make a good point. Born and Thrown on a Hook isn't exactly reinventing the wheel. But here's what I'm saying: Sometimes it's enough to just make a really good fucking wheel.

Of course, there is more to this record than period-aping. These songs are much darker in spirit than anything the sun-pop crafters of our collective heyday were ever keen on making.

There is something sinister hanging just behind the curtains in every song, as if Drink Up Buttercup are nothing more than siren organ grinders, calling young children from their beds to be devoured by wolves.

This dichotomy is apparent on "Little Ladies," a track that mixes a fun, poppy hook with sinister minor chords and vaguely threatening lyrics. Indeed, the subtle sense of danger that lies in the underbelly of the album is one of the band's strongest attributes.

Of course, dangerous weirdness will only get you so far. At some point, motherfuckers have to actually write songs. Born and Thrown on a Hook, thankfully, is more than thunder and noise, boasting some varied, catchy numbers that run the gamut of '60s favorites from Beach Boys pop music ("Young Ladies") to keyboard-driven Brit-rock stock ("Even Think"), hitting every stop in between. The best two songs on the album, "Lovers Play Dead" and "Mr. Pie Eyes" even manage to stand on their own, sounding totally original amongst other tracks that could, at worst, be tagged for being derivative.

So here's what it come down to: Drink Up Buttercup's first album is a mass of old-time pop ideas repackaged with weirdness and apprehension to maxim effect. Indeed, those who can get past the thin layer of weirdness that covers Born and Thrown on a Hook will be rewarded with a pop/rock album that offers more than the usual touchstones to a better era. Also, if you like the Teeth, you'll like Drink Up Buttercup (eat a dick, Williamsburg!).