As for Et tu, Fluffy?, it journeys from sparkly, punky, crank-'em-uppers like "Blue Day Moon" and "Anywhere But Here" to the smoky cool of "Do You Really Need a Drummer" (they do have one, Philip Ilatovsky) all with charmingly modest production values. There's also some gnarly guitar licks, and an unforced surreality to the sung words. Li'l something for everyone here.
"I always admired David Bowie's songwriting, because every song was its own little thing, and it didn't all sound the same, so I kind of picked up on that," says O'Brien, citing yet another major influence Hands and Knees resemble only in spirit. Let's face it: everyone sounds like the Pixies, at least a little, but I'm name-checking Gogol Bordello, adding them to the list of Hands and Knees' inspirations, to illustrate the rickety oom-pah of Et tu's "You Got Pop, You Got Style."
O'Brien is down with that. "Gogol Bordello are like crazy, party Fraggle music. It's like this Euro Gypsy-beat thing, all kind of sloppy and loud. 'You Got Pop . . . ' is like that. I don't know why I think of Fraggle Rock when I think of that beat, but there are certain bands that make me go, 'Fraggle music!' "
If the endpoint is a world that more closely resembles Fraggle Rock, I'd say a 12-hour detour to North Carolina is worth every mile.
HANDS AND KNEES + WYE OAK + THE POMEGRANATES + MR. SISTER | T.T. the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | May 14 at 9 pm | $9 | 617.492.BEAR or ttthebears.com