Monday, April 6, 2009

Julian Lynch, Orange You Glad, Buffalo Songs, 2009

Is there something in the water in Ridgewood, New Jersey, or does the Garden State just happen to be coughing up a lot of blissed-out psychedelia these days? Like childhood neighbor and long-time collaborator Matt Mondanile (Ducktails, Predator Vision, Real Estate), Julian Lynch has been churning out more quality homegrown recordings than we have time to digest. His sound, a one-man patchwork of vocals, wah wah guitar, bass, drums, and kitschy synth effects, carries the happy-go-lucky quality synonymous with recent Ridgewood output into the territory of the singer-songwriter.

The eight songs on “Orange You Glad”, his most recent self-release, are not afraid to be pretty, just as they don’t seem to have any qualms about being actual “songs.” That being said, Lynch’s sleepy Saturday afternoon sketches always seem chug forward in spite of themselves, just as surprised as we are by the jolts of pure melodic pleasure they occasionally produce. Artificial tablas rhythms flirt non-committally with Saint Patrick’s Day bagpipes and 60’s baroque pop, sometimes confounding our expectations and materializing into hum-able tune. At the album's most charming moments, all of the elements in the mix (percussion and bass included) seem to be bogged down in a thick coating of molasses, struggling to keep up in the musical rat race, but always somehow landing exactly where they need to be.

Do It Yourself, Do It At Home, even Do It Out Of A Crappy Computer Mic, Julian Lynch’s music is a stunning example of making the most out good ideas and limited means. “Orange You Glad” takes full advantage of the upsides of low fidelity recording, allowing scorching guitar riffs and Lynch’s nasal John Lennon falsetto to bleed into a variety of wooly textures. Again, whether Lynch is relying on accident or sleight of hand is your guess as good as mine. But when a slip in the mastering drives home the chorus of a song with crescendo overkill, we are all too happy to go along for the ride.

Words: Emilie Friedlander

Originally published on Foxy Digitalis, Spring 2009

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