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Draco

Enter the Draco
(Slabco)

One of the joys of truly independent discs is the lack of baggage they carry. Or, to put it another way, you can't come to an album with preconceptions if you don't know anything about it.

Take Enter the Draco, by the duo of Mima and Naoki Morimoto, aka Draco. Who are they? Dunno. What's their background? Dunno. From where do they hail? Japan -- although Mima speaks English at least as well as the women of Cibo Matto. How did they get a record deal with Slabco, a hip indie known (if it's known at all) as the home of Land of Loops? Well, they sent in a batch of recordings so enjoyable that the Slabco folks decided to put them out just the way they were. And, my friends, that's all there is to the story. Drive home safely. Don't forget to buckle up.

Oh, yeah -- the music. "Dracomedown [270K aiff]" is a seductive lope, with a sassy guitar figure, occasional mock elephant trumpets, megaphoned quasi-raps by Mima, a little scratchin', and enough cool to transform Gary Coleman into Denzel Washington. That's followed by the pop-friendly "If You Want to Mek It," during which Mima croons "I don't want to make it/I just want to take you, kick you and beat you" like the most charming, lovable dominatrix in leather; "Buttercup [260K aiff]," a herky-jerky ditty that rides on garbage-can clanking and keyboard squiggles; "The Slacker," a windswept mood piece that, in deference to its title, is in no hurry to get anyplace; and " V-A-C-A-N-T," a brief visit to Brazil, with a little Lower East Side NYC thrown in for good measure.

The sonics heard on these songs are fairly primitive, which only makes the volume of clever aural touches that rear up regularly all the more impressive. Enter the Draco is no masterpiece, and it's got some filler -- namely reprises of both "Dracomedown" and "Buttercup," which seems like a bit much considering the CD clocks in at just over 37 minutes. But it's as amiable as can be, all the more so for coming straight out of nowhere.

 
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