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Hop Hop Records
Release Date: January 29, 2015
Idiot Glee is the musical aka of Kentucky’s James Friley. Following in the footsteps of a handful of artsy, lo-fi, indie heroes from throughout the years (Harry Nilsson and Bart Davenport come to mind), this self-titled record is a blend of classic pop deliberations and the unique sound of the current indie world.
There are a few tracks here that stand head and shoulders above the rest for me (although it’s a solid record from start to finish). The first standout for me would be “Personal Computer Television.” It’s got a driving, almost tribal, backbeat to it and some cleverly added instrumentation. His keyboards work overtime here, producing really interesting sounds that serve to bring balance between the pop sensibilities and the experimental side of things.
Meanwhile “Baby (I Could Be Your Bone)” has a more traditional arrangement as far as the instruments go. The guitar work here is understated but fun, there’s almost a “Lion Sleeps Tonight” subtlety to it that I love, but it’s although healthily melancholy, which helps it blend in with the rest of the album. The somber “Evergreen Psycho” has a dark eighties Seven and the Ragged Tiger era Duran Duran vibe to it. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Overall, this isn’t something I would have been immediately drawn to, but I am pleasantly surprised. Some of the more experimental stuff just isn’t my thing, but Friley certainly brings enough melody into the mix to keep your attention throughout. I really enjoy the fact that, unlike many of his peers, he doesn’t let his songs get overshadowed by their sounds. This is a fascinating listen if you are looking for something with a firm foundation that doesn’t mind taking chances.
Reviewed by mark1340