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Katie and Skipper Hartley used to be members of a quirky Elephant Six-ish rock collective known as Toenut. The Georgia-based band was quietly one of the more innovative acts in indie rock in the mid-'90s, but all good things must end sooner or later, and this one did when the band imploded after releasing its second LP, Two in the Pinata, in 1997. The Hartleys coped with the band's demise by fleeing to their home studio and creating bright, shiny pop music. Before long they realized they had embarked on a new project, so they named it Tyro. The new group's sound is at once expansive and intimate, featuring a wide, colorful array of sounds that feel like they're packed tight, compressed into small warm spaces. Katie's melodies glitter like mountain water beside silvery guitars and a warm solid low-end. But eddying about all that rock-solid pop music is a chaos of tidal confusion in the form of weird tape loops and runaway synths. Sometimes the quirky, damaged electronics take over entirely and the pop disappears, only to rise again, like a Technicolor sunrise over a surreal amusement park. It's all very endearing and very...odd -- sorta like that funny older cousin who made you laugh, but sometimes said off-the-wall things you just plain didn't get.

Anyway, Hartley and Hartley are Tyro's principal members, but they occasionally enlist the aid of others, including drummers Jeff Sullivan and Brian Teasley, guitarist Richard Edelson, and yet another Hartley, Jason, on bass. Tyro's debut LP is called Audiocards, and it features "Grey Clouds," "Spinning," and "Shadow," along with ten other fine, odd tracks.

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