How it grew from two acoustic singers to a full-blown revue — or a "pornival," as Lazar calls it — makes more sense when you add in that Sickert is also a visual artist (the fantasy-inspired line drawings on their CDs and posters are his), that Edrie ran an art collective in Cambridge, and that both had creative friends who wanted to get into the act. "When the numbers grew, it just became like a baby's head growing," says Sickert. "Our fontanelle just fell into shape."

It also didn't take long to figure that writing self-pitying break-up songs was far less fun than, say, singing about a convicted robber shouting abuse to the crowd as he makes his way to the gallows (that would be "Sam Hall," a song Sickert learned from a Johnny Cash record). Or a twisted codependency song like "Heroin Pig," the closest thing to a love ballad on last year's Steamship Killers. Sickert now finds himself writing songs that sound almost like alternative rock — "So I put a stand-up bass in them before it's too late." He's also working on a set of songs about a radio transmission from the Apocalypse. "I'd say it was a musical. But that might make you think of Cats, and we can't have that."

WALTER SICKERT & THE ARMY OF BROKEN TOYS + ROB POTYLO + CASEY DESMOND + SECOND DAY VENOM | T.T. the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | February 10 @ 8:30 pm | 18+ | $8 | 617.492.0082 or ttthebears.com

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  Topics: Music Features , Somerville, T.T. The Bear's Place, T.T. the Bear's,  More more >
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