Experimental Music Love

October 13, 2009

Daniel Johnston – Is And Always Was

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 9:38 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

daniel-johnston-is-and-always-was-aaDaniel Johnston – Is And Always Was

Daniel Johnston is 48. This should not be the record of a 48-year-old. It should be the record of a 24-year-old wanting to be 48, or even a 68-year-old trying to reel back the years. But not a 48-year-old. No.

It seems though, after influencing Flaming Lips, TV on the Radio and Wilco with his lo-fi folk blues, this particular demi-legend is in turn trying to ape his successors, enthusing his latest record with an infectious rock and roll complete with polished production, even if this new cacophony somewhat drowns out Johnston’s still raw voice.

Don’t worry – its power shines through occasionally, most effectively giving the Pixies rock of ‘I Had Lost My Mind’ some suitable Frank Black fear. And that’s Frank Black when he was 20. Years of age too, not stone. For unlike the Boston alt-rockers, Johnston isn’t just letting songs of youth fit naturally into a more elderly setting, he’s making a new record that wouldn’t feel out of place coming from any number of American alt-rock sorts all fresh-faced and eager to put all their influence on one record.

It’s effective though, and this becomes the singer’s most accessible and immediate record yet. And like Benjamin Button before him, Johnston sounds only younger as the years go by. Fortunately, unlike Benjamin Button, ‘Is And Always Was’ doesn’t want to make you switch off after five minutes.

7.0/10

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