Finer Feelings #6: Lullaby Baxter Trio – Capable Egg (2000)

I’m willing to bet that Capable Egg isn’t going to be on anyone else’s list of anything, ever.  A gifted and unusual songwriter, Lullaby Baxter (real name Angelina Iapaolo) establishes her signature sound within the first few seconds of her debut album’s opening song.  “Hopscotch” features Baxter’s smooth, mature alto reciting a series of childish nonsense lyrics to a backing of ukuleles, concertinas and steel guitars.  If that doesn’t already set this album apart from anything else released this decade, there are a dozen more tracks that probably will.  From that track on, Capable Egg becomes a much darker, more contemplative album.  The piano- and cello-driven “The Anyway Song” and clip-clopping “Ding-A-Ling” show Baxter’s tender yet haunting side.  This blending of old-timey and subverted children’s music lends itself to waltzes, a trend which Capable Egg is proud to oblige with “Spacegirl,” a particularly woozy oom-pah.  What makes Baxter’s music so confounding and enjoyable is the dichotomy between the seemingly kid-friendly lyrics (she curses a few times here and there) and the complex, grown-up music.  The eponymous “Trio” isn’t so much a trio as it is a small orchestra, featuring both traditional and toy instruments.  A sampled ride cymbal and cooing organ lay the foundation for “Horsey Don’t Snore,” and a part-klezmer part-bluegrass clarinet pierces through the strutting blues of “Mama (Should I Bake A Cherry Pie And Hide You Inside?).”  That same clarinet blares atonally through my favorite track, “Rooster In Love,” a tale of unrequited farmyard infatuation.  Bands like Cake and Soul Coughing showed that you could write a song about pretty much anything, but Lullaby Baxter and Capable Egg take that manifesto to elegant new heights.

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~ by E. on November 27, 2009.

One Response to “Finer Feelings #6: Lullaby Baxter Trio – Capable Egg (2000)”

  1. I had forgotten how much I loved this album. It is truly an overlooked gem. Thanks for the reminder. Now, can you tell me where I left my car keys?

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