P:ano Ghost Pirates Without Heads

The youngsters in P:ano have followed up the precocious pop sophistication of Brigadoon with a musically sparse album infused with a sense of childlike innocence. Songs like "Foot Hills,” "T. Hatch Says ‘Round Ev’ry Corner,’” and "I Felt his Presents/Doing the Can Can” possess a certain hopeless naiveté that make them perfect for an early morning kindergarten sing-a-long. Then there is the group vocal of "Go Tell it on the Mountain Sung to the Tune of Go Tell it on the Mountain,” which suggests what the Hidden Cameras might have sounded like on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. At his best, leader Nick Krgovich has the playful, romantic authority of Stephen Merritt and the ironic detachment of Jens Lekman, making songs like "When You Garden in your Garden” and "Trouble Ahead,” pleasantly infectious. Its spare but unique instrumentation reveals Ghost Pirates’ flaws more readily, but its bare scrappiness makes it that much gutsier. (Mint)