In Australia there's something called the "Tall Poppy Syndrome"--anyone who seems to be doing well gets accused of being bigheaded and is put down by jealous antielitist peers. The Cannanes named their 1994 album Short Poppy Syndrome, a title that reveals the quartet's self-deprecating humor--appropriate seeing as they'll never have to worry about being cut down in their hometown, where they're completely ignored (their five albums were all on Chicago-based independent labels), but that's Sydney's loss. The Cannanes in turn betray an ambivalence about their homeland. On "Vivienne" they sing "There's something about Australia / You want to kick it when it's down / Just because it is a failure doesn't mean I'm leaving Newtown." Other songs are gleefully ridiculous: "Cricket Club Porn Night" uses anatomic hyperbole to lampoon sexism antipodean style. But the band's punchiest production to date is its eponymous new album. Mostly devoted to blunt analyses of interpersonal transactions, it's filled with understated but indelible pop hooks. This is the Cannanes' first North American appearance in five years. Thursday, March 7, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620. BILL MEYER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.