Irish multi-instrumentalist Brian Kelly—head, ahem, heifer in So Cow—starts this LP by singing, "I had my heart set on a string of greatest hits..." before essentially explaining that "you" found his cherished demo, burned it and threw it from a boat. "Start Over" then goes on to successfully rhyme "magazine" and "what an asshole you have bEEn" while, in the bridge, sounding like the title song to Tom Hanks' one-hit-wonder band flick, That Thing You Do, if only it were played by an endearingly bitter Irishman inside a tin can.
Really, those two minutes tell you a lot about So Cow—honest, spunky lyrics set to some seriously lo-fi pop hooks. If Kelly kept Meaningless Friendly to this effortlessly witty and endlessly catchy formula, you'd hear no complaints.
But a few of these 16 tracks (counting the bonus ones) tread into more adventurous territory, including a shimmery low-key number ("Shut Eye"), something that sounds like Billy Bragg set to a techno beat ("Girl Racer") and a 7-minute experiment that strings together approximately seven different songs into one ("International Waters").
No matter what So Cow serves up, I found something to chew on. Even the song with South Korean lyrics—Kelly lived there once—left me thankful Kelly decided to "Start Over."
So Cow plays the Palace Wednesday, March 3, at 9 PM with Birthday Suits and Colin Johnson. $5.