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  Some Sort of Static
Artist: Brian Ferry
Label: Lilac Records
Length: 12/49:59

Singer/songwriter Brian Ferry (or as he says “not THAT Bryan Ferry”) takes the do it yourself approach on his second album, Some Sort of Static.  Eric Hauck plays cello on two songs, and Todd Perry contributes banjo on “Usher in the Autumn.” Other than that, and some miscellaneous sounds and backup vocals, this CD is all Brian Ferry.  

Ferry’s sound is pretty eclectic: folk mixed with samples with an indie-rock looseness.  Think VOL mixed with Beck, with a dash of Half-Handed Cloud, and that’s a start.    The vocals are at times like Beck, at others Paul Westerburg or David Lowery (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven).  

“Usher in the Autumn” is a the centerpiece of the album, and features Ferry on harmonica.  The acoustic track is very much in the vein of Bill Mallonee or Bob Dylan.  “We Three Kings” blends folk and pop, while mixing a toy piano in the background.  This gives it the Beck effect ­ you need repeated listens to decide if the result is genius or annoying.  

“Take me as I am, and I’ll take you as you are” is the catchphrase of “Campground Coffee &  Folk Songs,” a tune about making the best of things, and the camaraderie that comes from common experience.  “St. What’s-His-Name” evokes The Replacements, or perhaps Tom Waits.

The CD closes with “Sick, Tired, & Weary,” a lament that looks to God to guide its subject through his current state of mind.  Ferry is quite adept in drawing his listener into the moment, that you understand the feelings that are conveyed.

Some Kind of Static holds up well ­ it will maintain a place on my shelf next to other indie folkies such as Nate Houge.  File it under “interesting”.

Brian A. Smith   29 September 2002


 

   
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