Untangle the mess of ideas to reveal a decent pop record
This 4-track sampler from London-born session musician/songwriter Jeff Lowe's album 'Hitchcock Cafe' reveals a rather confused state of affairs. Lowe leans towards a popular bluesey, folk sound, with catchy Flaming Lips-esque quirks, including everchanging, unusual melodies and TV vox-pops.
'Public Information Song' begins with a short foray into electro before a blues-rock verse kicks in with creatively layered vocals (Lowe's voice layered onto his own), and an admirable attack on 'Big Brother' society. However some sounds such as vocals and guitar stand out too much from the rest of the track, so that it sounds under/over mixed, and though the verse is pleasantly melodic, the mood changes on the chorus to reveal a whole new sonic idea. Though this would be fine alone, the new melody somehow jars with the rest of the track. Far from demonstrating a wide range of cohesive ideas, there isn't the unity of sound needed to make the track make sense.
This is an issue that hits home in 'Travesty of Justice' which just has too many musical flavours piled on so that each smothers the other. An emotive poppy track with rather cheesey, unusual electro 80s blow pipe effect and a simple, underwhelming melody changes completely at the chorus. Amazing crushed, layered vocal and instrumental effects, joined later by electric guitar are ideas with flavour and intrigue - however together, the ideas don't complement each other.
Finally 'Wrong Junction' might be the ray of light at the end of the tunnel - a chilled out lounge feel, touching melodic vocals and jazzy acoustic guitar interlude - a flawless pop pleasantry with a light dusting of the more unusual - namely a funky freestyle blues solo towards the end. Finally a track that flows without incongruent fluctuations in melody and style.
As a musician and producer it's easy to lose touch with musical simplicity, and push the boat out too far creatively. However 'Wrong Junction' just goes to show what Lowe can do when he avoids falling into this trap. 'Hitchcock Cafe' might be a decent listen if you have the energy to untangle all of those sonic ideas.