My handmade copy of Oblio Duo's eponymous CD came with a strand of human hair accidentally glued into it. There are two things I can do with that hair: make a voodoo doll, or clone singer/instrumentalist Steven Lee Lawson. The cloning probably wouldn't work, though. Although Lawson and bandmate Will Duncan are steeped in a tradition that flows from Harry Nilsson and Alex Chilton through Elliott Smith and Animal Collective, there's no way that Oblio Duo
's shy yet sophisticated folk pop could ever be counterfeited. With an earthy rawness that tethers its cosmic immensity, the disc is a sprawl of soft strums, stray noises, brittle piano, chunks of distortion and the twosome's fluttering, sleep-starved coos. The result is achingly tender -- and unmistakably theirs.
So that leaves the voodoo doll. But instead of sticking the little guy with pins, I think I'll stand him up in a big, sunlit window and hope that Denver -- hell, the whole world -- someday takes notice of Oblio Duo's rich, erratically majestic songs.