The song “Double Digits, a Life Achievement” from Bangor bangers Good Kids Sprouting Horns opens with what sounds like an irksome alarm clock. In just as much time as it takes to screw up your face in revolt, the pop serum comes in like seratonin in a syringe.

GKSP is Anthony Bitetti on vocals, guitar and bass; Jessamy Luthin on the Casio CT-701, Wurlitzer, Casio MT-205, Casio PT-1 and Melodica; and Ryan Higgins shoring it up with steady percussion.

The taut crew writes tunes that naturally build, with gorgeous garage drums, synth surprises and Bitetti’s raw roar wrapped around big-hearted hooks.

Beyond the songcraft, there’s something so likeable behind the total package, and Bitetti took the time to tell GO about it.

Check out the je ne sais quoi for yourself at Slainte Friday night, where the Good Kids kick off their Mini Summer Tour 2010. 

What gave birth to Good Kids Sprouting Horns?

I’ve always made fairly safe music, in my opinion. It was always the type of pop rock that came naturally, and really didn’t say any of the things that I was wanting to say with my music. My old bandmate (Jason Unterreiner of Wood Burning Cat) got me started on February Album Writing Month a couple of years ago, and it allowed me to explore my folk side and experiment a little more with different styles.

Last February, I borrowed a bunch of toy Casio keyboards and began writing organ-driven folk music. Eventually, that turned into Good Kids Sprouting Horns as we appear today. 

After all the twists and turns, are you happy with (the CD) “Give Up the Ghost”? What are you most proud of?

“Give Up the Ghost” was a complete success in my book. I wanted to make a cohesive album, both lyrically and musically, and I feel strongly that we achieved just that. Most of the songwriting was done by myself, with the help of GarageBand, so mostly you are hearing my vision alone on the record, but Jessamy and Ryan add their musical tastes to our live show, and will be a much larger part of the writing process for the next record. 

You guys are often described as “authentic.” What makes an artist seem authentic to an audience?

I don’t really know what quality makes an artist appear authentic; I just think you know it when you see it, if that makes sense. I poured my life into this record, and I think it comes through in the performance.

In everything we do, we try to remain true to ourselves and what we grew up loving about music, whether it’s the twangy slightly distorted guitar, the heavy keyboard drones, the almost emo-ish vocals.

It’s all part of us, it’s what we are, and we have no desire to hide it.   

Will the GKSH sound ever evolve? If so, what will be added or taken away?

It has already evolved a great deal. The new songs we’ve been working on are going in completely different directions from themselves, and from “Give Up the Ghost.”

We have talked about someday adding a fourth member, maybe someone who can play a series of stringed instruments, or horns to add more layers of melody. I’m not sure at this point.

One thing I do know is that Jessamy’s oboe will be making appearances on  the next record.   

What type of impact do you want to have as a lyricist?

I want to tell a story that gives the listener a tingle. My favorite songs are the ones that make me shiver.

Every time I listen to “Baboon” by the Mountain Goats and John Darnielle sings, “daisies on the hillside like cancer on the skin, pretty little yellow eyes that flutter in the wind, I’d be grateful my children aren’t here to see this, if you’d ever seen fit to give me children,” my spine flutters, and I won’t ever forget how that feels.

If I can bring that sensation to anybody at all, I’ll be happy. 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.