Pop bands that try to get fancy with polymorphous sounds are usually annoying, but local duo the Locks are actually rather engaging in their most outre moments. Their recently self-released Tour EP is peppered with the sort of quiet kitchen-sink psychedelia and no-fidelity bedroom goof-around that puts them in league with freak-folk noodlers, but it's also spacious and spooky in ways that recall Areski's early 70s arrangements for vocalists like Jacques Higelin and Brigitte Fontaine. As with their previous project, the fantastic but short-lived trio Weather, Theo Katsaounis and Patrick Scott keep the instrumentation to a minimum--just bass and drums--and pile on the effects, transforming their sound with a host of samplers and mixers augmented by recreational abuse of melodica. The vocals are warped and singsongy, casually cute without ever being effete. But perhaps the most special thing about Locks is how they puncture their surrealist jingles with political wit. In the shadow of war and Bush II, when a band like the Capitol Steps can pass for high political satire, it's encouraging to know that the Locks are available as an alternative for folks who like some actual ha-ha with their dissent. Rock headlines, the Locks play second, and Whaler opens. Thu 12/29, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $6 in advance, $8 at the door, 18+.