Picks and Pans Review: Greetings from Timbuk 3

updated 01/26/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Timbuk 3

While plenty of young married couples pride themselves on being self-sufficient, few could rival Pat MacDonald and Barbara K. of Austin, Texas. As Timbuk 3, they released this debut album of folk/country/pop songs with little help. Barbara plays violin, mandolin, guitars and percussion; Pat plays harmonicas, guitars, basses and drum machines. They co-wrote the songs and packed them with clever social commentary. The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades uses a bouncy beat and sarcastic lyrics to lambaste college kids for caring about money and beer while ignoring the danger of nuclear technology. Using dark vocal harmonies, Timbuk 3 switches to deep anger in Life Is Hard, which tells of a man dying in a taxi: "His heart had stopped beatin'/ But the meter was still runnin'." The breezier Hairstyles and Attitudes concludes that people are "categorized into three basic types/ By which of the Three Stooges we most closely resemble." A couple of experiments on the album don't match the band's high standards. Facts About Cats, for instance, describes a cat on the prowl and sounds too cute even as a parable for male-female relations. Let's be forgiving, though, especially since it doesn't take a lot of magnanimity to overlook lapses on an album as good as this. (I.R.S.)

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