Guitarist/vocalist Marc Cavigli recalls the early days of the Santa Cruz band Jolly Llamas, and how people would tell them, “You kind of remind me of Flight of the Concords.” It’s an understandable reaction, as he and partner Roy Behrens initially were an acoustic two-piece that played and sang funny, offbeat tunes. But the band was never about satire. They had something different in mind.
“We have a lot of dark lyrics, but they are really happy songs on the surface level. It’s taking a more humorous and less intense look at humanity, and seeing the funniness in their fault,” Chavigli explains.
Both Chavigli and Behrens spend a significant amount of time crafting their lyrics, which are more macabre stories than typical rock lyrics. They have one about a murderous surfer who gets eaten by a shark. Another is about a female alchemist who poisons her boyfriend, and “Haunted Heir” is about a disturbed guy who inherits a castle from his dead family, who haunt and mentally torture him. They consider “Haunted Heir” one of their darkest because of how the music contrasts with the subject manner.
“[That] song is one of our catchiest. It has a happy, upbeat swing, but it tells about the exploits of this demented guy who lives alone in his castle,” Cavigli says.
In more recent years, the group has expanded from an acoustic two-piece into a four-piece rock band with bass and drum. Cavigli now plays the electric guitar, while Behrens sticks to the acoustic. Musically, they mix folk, rock and indie in an eclectic way similar to bands like Sebadoh or the Decemberists. They perform a release show for their latest EP, Story Rock, on Thursday at the Crepe Place.
INFO: 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.