Plastic Guitar

Genial Sacramento eccentric Anton Barbeau travels to England for this one, and writes about same for his first song, no less. Other selections highlight the thin line between Esperanto and joyous gibberish, with backwards- and impossibly basso background vocals tossed up and in like kippers for a salad. When essaying a disco song he dredges one impressive funk-booty bass line but calls "rain" the "Raino" so as to agitate scansion. He also drags in two samples, one of a comely sounding lass intoning "mouth on mouth," the other of an even-comelier-sounding lass saying "tongue," and for all the incessant repetition, it sounds just a little bit more like a party than a porno.

One forgives Anton almost anything; his mesmerizing gift for catchiness keeps even his excesses from aggravating. The added conundrum on his latest comes from the forthright Jesus kick. That's the Man from Galilee getting name-checked on "Say It With Ease," and the Man's big bad daddy appealed to on "Boat Called Home." The newfangled religion throws other pieces into a certain relief -- "Banana Song" gets a throat-scratchy reworking from the festive original ten years back, as the feeling mounts that the "you" supplicated to in the lyrics equals the "you" in Bob Dylan's firmly gospel "I Believe In You." Bob wants his personal mistreatment enshrined as devotion and Anton wants a banana for his sins. I think you call that the singularity of individual souls.

Bracing, yes, and a bit baffling, until you remember Anton was always three-dimensional. I am no Christian, and I'll stop there on that, but by the time you hear deeply it's too late for hate. I'll take him under my wing and tell him it's not time for him to die. If that is what he really needs.

  • Album title: Plastic Guitar (2009)
  • Artist: Anton Barbeau
  • Label: Pink Hedgehog Records
  • Songs: (1) Bending Like a Spoon (2) Plastic Guitar (3) Doctor Take Care (4) Dear Miss (5) I Used to Say Your Name (6) Boat Called Home (7) Raino Disco ('Bout The Raino) (8) Say It With Ease (9) Quorn Fingers (10) Banana Song (11) Better Drink Your Water (12) Eye Kinda

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I knew this had to be a Hamlin review. Witty, perceptive, and well written, as usual. But I think I'd buy anything on Pink Hedgehog Records.

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