JESSE KRAKOW - Oceans In The Sun

Jesse Krakow - Oceans In The Sun

31 songs
41:38 minutes
***** *****
Public Eyesore


How much Jesse Krakow is too much Jesse Krakow?, is the title of a news update Jesse Krakow himself sent to the webpage of Epicene Soundsystems. Apart from being bass player with math jazz rockers Time Of Orchids, who just signed to John Zorn's Tzadik label, he's also playing with Gary Lucas in a Captain Beefheart cover band and with Ron Anderson's PAK. Furthermore he's involved with some other bands, and also just released his debut solo album on the small Nebraskan Public Eyesore CD-R label.

The cover artwork is a cute aquarelle painting of leafless trees, animals and rainbow colors, preparing adequately for what you get inside: 31 songs in less than 42 minutes, without this being either brutal grind / crust / whatever core or experimental masturbation. Instead we get a conceptual prog rock album for children and pets, which Krakow penned for his cat Gidget. And people who write albums for their cats can't be bad people.

Krakow sees himself inspired by Zappa, Shaggs, Ween, B-52's, Residents and Half Japanese. Not only that all of these artists amount to true genius, but this also gives you already an idea of what to expect: ultra-short songs, coming straight from the heart to the 4-track recorder. Krakow has been doing all the recordings himself, and while keyboards and drum computers are predominant, there's also the occasional burst of guitar and bass. My first impression was Residents meet They Might Be Giants, combining the former's weirdness with the latter's take on fantastic melodies. Where "normal" artists, once they found a cool melody, they to straight it out into something accessible and then stretch it out to three or four minutes, Krakow seems to stay with the original idea and leaves it at that, thus overwhelming the listener with an true onslaught of little unfinished pop diamonds. Like I said, other artists could have filled three albums with all the material you get here, but Krakow leaves it at this astonishing lo-fi piece of art. Where Half Japanese is sometimes overly artful an hard to access, Oceans In The Sun is just perfect! Songs like Good Warm Friends, Missed A Boogie, Want To Make Fun and the title track are perfect pop songs, and even the few experimental tracks could have been found hidden on Guided By Voices albums, while the instrumentals show off Krakow's skill as a musician.

If you are used to hi-fi dolby surround recordings, then this absolutely lo-fi 4-track take on music may scare you off. Oceans In The Sun doesn't need to hide behind a polished production, it's the music that counts here, and it's not too often that you will come around such an accomplished pop album. A true must-buy for lo-fi aficionados.

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