Athens, Georgia's Casper & the Cookies have been creating a peculiar brand of power pop since 1999, tirelessly testing new waters in their songwriting and sonic pallet. Jason NeSmith (aka Casper Fandango, ex- Of Montreal) shares writing and recording duties with Kay Stanton. Guitarist Jim Hicks, drummer Davy Gibbs and a rotating cast of unsavory characters complete the lineup. The new record, “The Optimist's Club” finds them greatly expanding their sound to include european influences, a fuller sound and most importantly, the emergence of Kay Stanton as a creative force. These changes allow the Cookies to reveal their catholic tastes and simultaneously define their identity. The first half of the record is an ep-length song cycle relating the sensations of two friends from Atlanta visiting New York City and falling in love. References to the avant garde and anti-art are sprinkled throughout. Boss guitars and powerful drumming share sonic space with loops made from green beans, pet sounds, and microcassette recordings. Regarding the live Casper & the Cookies experience, Cookie Jason expounds: "Every night we try to find a new way to interact with the crowd. Sometimes one of us gets bruised." The Cookies' dedication to audience interaction extends even to occasionally letting them name their new songs, as is the case with "Barking in the Garden of Ill Repute". An internet contest grossed over eighty submissions from which the band chose two to merge together for the final result.