Friday, August 3, 2007

SAMUEL LOCKE-WARD "Boombox by Bedside" (Unread)


I spent a lot of time listening to this tape trying to figure it out, which is perfectly all right. It is after all a pleasant ride. True, but it makes you feel like you haven’t slept in days and you’re seeing little minute hallucinations out in your peripheral vision. From the first track on this record latches onto a weird amateur auteur sort of sensibility. He starts with a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover that has schizophrenic background vocals that curtly yell “shut up” between bars of the belted chorus. What really makes this tape great and mysterious is the slide between slow paced boombox languor and serious up tempo pop and pomp. The line of the intimate and the public is crossed repeatedly. The finest example of this is the weird slow falsetto of “heaven,” which is endearingly awkward, but segues into “holy shit” which sounds pro and pop by comparison, with a driving drone from the chord organ and an absolutely viral chorus. That would be enough to make it a particularly interesting release, but then there are all the overt and vague religious overtones that abound on the record. Locke-Ward speaks to God, talks about those we’ll be seeing in heaven and places these ideas next to something utterly absurd (something about eating eggs) and obscures it all in boombox fidelity. Another good one from the dubbing decks of Unread Records.