Rollerskate Skinny: Horsedrawn Wishes Warner Bros 9362-45943-2

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The Independent Online
Following the release of their 1993 Shoulder Voices album, Irish band Rollerskate Skinny relocated to America, where they spent the time touring with Lollapalooza types such as Pavement, Smashing Pumpkins and the Flaming Lips - and, on the strength of this major-label debut, getting a complete musical makeover from the latter.

Horsedrawn Wishes features 12 examples of Lips-style warped pop grace, heady whirlpools of sound from which catchy choruses somehow resolve themselves just in time to rescue the songs from complete chaos. It's ambitious stuff - the sheer density of sound is sometimes worthy of Brian Wilson at his most addled, and despite the lyric sheet, songs like "Cradle Burns" and "Swab the Temples" are as gloriously incomprehensible as anything Van Dyke Parks ever penned. Teetering on the edge of terminal whimsy, they do, however, throw up the occasional few lines that hit home, such as these from "One Thousand Couples": "Dreamers and losers never die / Loners and seekers never die / They just drag those bodies along / To remind themselves they don't belong". Let's hope they don't turn out to be autobiographical.

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