Jersey Beat Music Fanzine
 


REVIEWS BY JIM TESTA

 

JOSEPH LEDOUX - A River Of Hope And Love Flows Through A Dark Abyss (CD Baby)

I met NYC Joseph LeDoux when he invited me to perform at a benefit just before the mid-terms at the Sidewalk Cafe, where LeDoux and his bands the Amygdaloids and So We Are perform regularly. This is LeDoux's first solo album though, and as its subtitle - "Songs For These Troubled Times" - suggests, it's a collection of ballads that reaffirm faith in America and its values. The first "side" is delivered in a hearty folk/Americana style that suits the compositions well; the flipside offers electronic remixes that frankly I found unnecessary. While the Amygdaloids dabble in a psychedelic style dubbed "heavy mental," LeDoux's solo songs mostly present straightforward, old-fashioned themes about patriotism or nature that would be suitable at an elementary school assembly or a political fundraiser. "I Wanna Be With You" ups the tempo for more of a power pop vibe. LeDoux has a craggy, inflective voice; he's what they used to call a personality singer as opposed to a crooner, a style that certainly fits in with the anti-folk ethos at the Sidewalk. I appreciate the sentiments and craftsmanship here, but the remixes just don't work for me.

ART BRUT - Wham! Bang! Pow! (Alcopop! Records)

Like most novelty acts, the UK's Art Brut suffered mightilyfrom the Law of Diminishing Returns. When we first heard Eddie Argos' talk/sing bravado in 2005, going on about "forming a band" and the little brother "who just discovered rock 'n' roll," bands could still have a hit record just by getting a good review in NME or Melody Maker. Argos was funny and clever in a way no one had really heard since the glory days of Wreckless Eric and Ian Dury (and a little Jonathan Richman;) and his band could rock too. As one album followed another though, the punchlines grew more and more desperate, and Argos' lovable exuberance soured as the band's fortunes declined. It all fell apart when Eddie actually started trying to sing instead of barking out his lyrics in that demented accent of his. Happily, after a six year hiatus, Art Brut returns with a stunning return to form. In fact, this album very nearly made my year-end Best of List. Argos seems like focused on conquering the world now and simply tries to make us like him again; he succeeds, in large part, because he's actually funny again. And the band's gotten better too, with the Wedding Present's Charlie Layton coming on board on drums along with guitarist Andy Macfarlaine. Now instead of just punchlines, Art Brut has hooks, harmonies, and melodies. A wiggy theramin brightens "Hospital!," written about Argos' near-fatal bout with diverticulitis and his resolution to change his ways and live healthier. And while Argos used to sing inspired nonsense about other people, he's learned (as on "Too Clever,") that these days, his best material comes from writing about himself.

ALEXANDER PAUL TAKES OVER THE WORLD - "Soulmates... Unfortunately For You" EP (Bandcamp)

The solo project of Alexander Paul Grippo from Montclair, there's almost nothing online about this release or its creator (and for the record, our James Damion hated it.) But these songs do remind me a bit of the Ergs, earnest DIY punk rock sung with an urgent earnestness and strained vocals. For want of a better term, it's mid-tempo pop punk, with nods to the Descendents, Weezer, and classic rock. "Running Away" gets a bit too emo for me, but "American Friends" and "Darren's Song" deliver a solid basement show, fist-in-the-air exuberance, and you gotta love "Self Reflection At 155 Beats A Minute" if only for the title. (It's got a nice bouncy Casio synth and a Joe Jack Talcum to it too.)

 

back to jerseybeat.com l back to top

 


JerseyBeat.com is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.


 
 
Loading
Jersey Beat Podcast
 
 


Home | Contact Jersey Beat | Sitemap

©2010 Jersey Beat & Not a Mongo Multimedia

Music Fanzine - Jersey Beat