THE WINSOMELY NAMED Pianosaurus is an all-toy band. That is, its members play plastic instruments.
Hobokenites Alex Garvin, Bianca Miller and Stephen Dansiger, all Rhode Island School of Design art students (that's where Talking Heads came from), perform on Smurfs drum kits, tinny-tinkly 25-key pianos and wee molded-plastic guitars, making sounds that are daffy and delicate but still unmistakably rock-ish. And certainly one-of-a-kind.
Songs like "(A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The) Toystore" and the 57- second "Eleanor Day" are often a mite precious, and Garvin's vocals sometimes sound like a cloying cross between Jonathan Richman and John Sebastian.
But when not being fey, this unconventional combo can sound surprisingly feisty, attempting credible (but still cute) covers of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" and John Lee Hooker's "Dimples." The '60s-inspired folk-pop originals, many of which amusingly limn New Jersey life, include the jaunty "Thriftshoppin'," which seems to define the group's aesthetic, and a proud paean to "Bubble Gum Music," hailing such sweet inspirations as 1910 Fruitgum Co., the Banana Splits and Josie and the Pussycats.
The Toys-R-Us technique is a concept that probably works best in performance. But thanks to producer Peter Holsapple (of the dBs), these Pianosauri pull it off on record. Playfully. PIANOSAURUS --
"Groovy Neighborhood" (Rounder 9010). Appearing with Scruffy the Cat Saturday at the 9:30 club.