Being a newcomer to the world of Lach, veteran of the Lower East Side anti-folk scene it is clear that this man has a story to tell. Whether it's hitting Billy Bragg in the face with a pack of Marlboros or establishing the now legendary Antihootenanny which helped give birth to the careers of artists such as Beck and Regina Spektor this guy's been around the block more times than he cares to remember. On first listen I thought this maybe another Dylanesque wander through the narratives of the "Basement Tapes" but Dylan and the Band this is not. OK there are hints of Bobby Zimmerman but this is delivered with such a scruffy confidence and more importantly crisp humor that there is little room for sentiment. Battered acoustics and beat up vocals suggest that Lach is as at home with Joey Ramone and CBGB's as he is with Greenwich Village in the 1960's.
This is the sixth long player by Lach and opens with 'Another Night Without You' which sets the tone for the rest of Ramshackle Heart with a catchy romp of lost love. 'Break The Day' is an all guns blazing, outlaw show tune complete with "whip cracks" and "yee ha's". 'She's Brave Now' demonstrates a softer side with a touching sing along, that will have you humming it all day long. It is on the track 'Baby I Don't Want To Go' that genres and influences dissipate into one another and folk merges with the Ramones circa 76 and Motown style "sha la la's". The country-punk of 'My Gangster' is another example of how Lach has made this anti-folk moment his own with plenty of swaggering attitude and an indication of how his sound can be heard in the echoes of today's alt-hero story tellers such as The Hold Steady.
Ramshackle Heart might prove an acquired taste for some but the amalgamation of sharp wit, attitude and great yarns, spat out in the spirit of Joe Strummer demonstrates that the anti folk movement is alive and well.