Pearly Sweets’s previous band, the Platonics, made quite a few tastemakers tinkle on the floor with excitement before splitting up last year–and though it’s hard to pick up the pieces after you get that close to making it, the golden boy has moved on, and to weirder pastures. As the front man for Baby Teeth he refines his formula for cockamamie pop soul: clean fingernails, a dirty mind, lots of guts, and not too much fucking off. Backed by bassist Jim Cooper of Detholz (a fellow member of Bobby Conn’s Glass Gypsies) and drummer Peter Andreadis, Pearly croons, snarls, and drawls with a sleazy quiver that’s so foxy it makes my uterus ache. The tone recalls Hall and Oates’s sunshiny faux moodiness, the delivery Manfred Mann’s melodramatic gusto–in short, you could cut the irony with a cheese knife. On the forthcoming Baby Teeth Album (the band’s still looking for a label), Cooper’s greasy funk bass plays grab-ass with Pearly’s shimmering keyboard frippery, and the harder Pearly tries to explain himself the ickier he gets: “Walkin’ down the coast of Arizona / Catchin’ a dirty fish or two… / I’m never goin’ back to California / I don’t wanna party with you no more.” It’ll make you either wince or swoon–and you’ve gotta admire a band that leaves itself so little room for error. Stanley Ross opens; Br. Danielson (see Spot Check) headlines. $12. Friday, July 30, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Laura Sweeney.