By RUSSELL BAILLIE
Caterpillar (Herald rating: * * *)
Butterfly (Herald rating: * * * *)
These simultaneously released two albums by the Tokey Tones - the Auckland duo of Scott Mannion and Li-Ming Hu and friends - deliver more askew art-pop whimsy than is safe to take all at once.
Making label-mates the Brunettes (some of whom guest) sound like the Datsuns by comparison, TTT's approach is almost drummer-free throughout. But it's big on quietly twangin' and gently strummed guitars, xylophones, kid-friendly percussion and the pair's sweet-nothing vocals which, on the likes of Caterpillar track Love Done Me No Goodn,f can come on like the Carpenters being covered by Sparklehorse.
As the name suggests, Butterfly has more lift over the relatively weightless Caterpillar The former's Moon and So On, Yoghurt and Vinegar, Juxtapose and The Observatory suggest there's ambitions towards wriggly Flaming Lips-like psychedelia which offset the occasional twee patches and song-sketchiness. A doubly cute debut.
Label: Lil Chief Records