Pero los Chivos!! contains no band data, recording information or even a thanks to Jesus. You have to surf the Web (http://theshizz.org/fatigo) just to find out what the song titles are. The album's selling through indie Web retailer CD Baby -- at least somebody told them what the titles were.
Mike Montoya, John De La Cruz and Gill Guilia have the right idea, however. Singer Montoya's homely timbre recalls the monotonous John Flansburgh. Yet unlike They Might Be Giants, Montoya's humorous parables don't pack an obvious punch line. They're more like strange James Thurber drawings that leave odd impressions.
"Rite of Passage," the album's lead track, turns a venomous snake bite into a community celebration ("Suck out the poison, neighbor/The village dance/Somebody call an ambulance..."). "Only a Lost Squirrel" is a jazz waltz about a package containing a live squirrel mailed to the wrong address. As far as musical questions go, no one you know has presumably ever asked, "Who's selling squirrels on the Web?"
Other oddities include "For the Alley," an ode to Mesa's Hollywood Alley, which breezes past like an incomprehensible Sesame Street jingle about the letter A, and the XTC-ish "Dilution Girl," which finds Montoya wondering why his lass can't drink beer that isn't watered down "like normal people do." Montoya prefers to speak for beleaguered voiceless species, like the proud pit bull bullied by his owners ("If I bark at the neighbor's dog, I'll be electrified"). The music veers ever slightly from stripped-down mariachi and Tejano to distorted low-fi Ween. Montoya's nylon string guitar and droning voice are the only constants, save for that nagging suspicion that you're always a cold beer behind these guys.
Having outgrown playing gigs that require a sign-up sheet, Fatigo is now a closed-mike proposition. If your idea of rocking the house is more songs about insects and Frisbee parks, this lazy blend of pathos and bongos should rock your house like a noisy evap cooler.