City Paper is not for tourists
STANDOUT TRACK: Track 3, “Sassy Pants,” which filters the minimalist idiot genius of the Dead Kennedys’ “Dog Bite” through cheeky power-pop. Though Maxwell Houston’s barking guitar kick-starts the track, singer Luke Kozikowski, 25, provides the low-concept hook.
“I am a sassy pants, sassy pants crazy/When I go out and dance, dancing with my lady,” Kozikowski reports, riding Washington City Paper Contributing Writer Arthur Delaney’s ragga-ready bass line. Then, the hi-hat explodes, and Kozikowski mutters unintelligibly through a chorus as a melancholy falsetto chirps above. Schoolyard sloganeers insist that French ladies go bottomless, but Kozikowski shrugs off such geopolitical niceties, confirming in the second verse—after a twitchy solfège breakdown—that, indeed, “You’ll find my pants in France.”
MUSICAL MOTIVATION: “Well, um…” Houston deadpans, “My ex-girlfriend, she died, and I wanted to write a song about her to commemorate her death, and that was called ‘Sassy Pants.’” So there’s funereal depth beneath the song’s wordless shout chorus? “Nah, it’s just sassy and goofy and fun to play,” says Houston, 27. “With ‘coming-out-of-the-closet’ undertones,” he adds mysteriously.
SURF’S (NOT) UP: The song “lacks the surf influence of our other songs,” says drummer Matt Pelkey. “It’s just really silly pop.” Since Kozikowski defected to New York, the quartet has honed its aesthetic via the Internet. “Max, Artie, and I write the songs and e-mail drafts up to Luke,” Pelkey, 25, explains. “Luke writes the lyrics…and we practice songs the day of the show.” Pelkey hesitates. “At least, that would be ideal.”