Comedy-folk duo Garfunkel & Oates have their routine pretty much down: They sing slightly filthy or emotionally stark two-minute ditties while strumming on a guitar and ukulele in the cutest manner possible. Half the joke is in that juxtaposition, and there’s plenty of material on Slippery When Moist, their third album, in that vein.
In “Handjob, Blandjob, I Don’t Understand Job,” Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome confess they jumped right from kissing to having sex and never figured out what went on in between those steps. “Go Kart Racing” is about the embarrassing side effects of driving one of those vibrating vehicles. But Garfunkel & Oates have always excelled with their observational songs like “You, Me And Steve,” on their last album All Over Your Face, about a guy who keeps bringing a friend along to dates. Slippery When Moist doesn’t really have a standout like that one—“I Don’t Know Who You Are” probably comes closest, complaining about dating a bland guy who doesn’t fit any type (“You’re a Honda Accord in a parking garage”), or “Google,” where they insist they didn’t look a guy up on the Internet before admitting they did. (“Stop pretending it’s taboo like masturbation in the ’50s.”)
There’s also an attempt at more thematic stuff, including a three-song arc that begins with the singers being serenaded, then a seven-second “Ex-Boyfriend Song” that’s all pithy fury, then “Silver Lining,” which tries to look on the bright side of a breakup. Later on, there’s “My Apartment’s Very Clean Without You,” a rather melancholy, sweet ballad about the end of a relationship. It’s not particularly funny, but it is surprisingly suited to Micucci and Lindhome’s style. That kind of evolution is good to see from Garfunkel & Oates: Their shtick is always going to be pleasant and amusing, but there’s plenty of room for them to grow.