Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Flugente – Flugente 2

Angry, wryly insightful and often very funny, once-and-future Blam frontman Jerry Adler AKA Flugente takes his game up a step on his second solo, mostly acoustic cd. His first one, a metaphorically charged account of a European road trip, made the top twenty on our Best Albums of 2007 list and this one, an even more ambitious look at the current state of America, might well do that too. It’s awfully early in the year to say that, but this is a hell of an album. With distant echoes of Leonard Cohen and closer ones of vintage Dylan, Adler is quick with a clever, daggerlike lyrical twist, setting his rhymes and rants to catchy, sixties-inflected folk and blues tunes. Adler may have his issues with this country, but he’s nothing if not fair-minded, and he doesn’t want to break off the relationship: “C’mon, apple, tempt me.”

Slide guitar blazing beneath a tersely strummed acoustic, the cd’s opening track is a road song, “Looking for America, the country or the dream,” its hungry narrator nonplussed by the “stretched-tight faces over sables yawning underneath their playbills” that he meets along the way – you know that this guy is a populist from day one. The second track is a fast fingerpicked indie blues tune, somewhat evocative of David J’s solo work. I Have Turned Down Gifts and Prizes recalls a poorly received gig in his native country: “That’s not entertainment, what are you doing?” someone asks. “I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing it for me…it’s important just to say it,” he asserts, a shot in the arm for serious songwriters everywhere.

People Come from All Around is a genuine New York classic, a deliciously evocative anti-trendoid rant. The idle rich and their idler children may make easy targets, but this is the lyrical equivalent of pulling out an Uzi in a crowd at a Dan Deacon appearance. And the yuppies don’t get off any easier:

The Wall Street men on their way downtown from college, their bits are chafing
Fill their bags and take the subway home, their wives are waiting
With their temperatures taken upside down and ovulating
Yeah people come from all around to make a life in my hometown
But it’s not what it used to be, only the crumbs are left for me now
 
A fingerpicked blues a la early Dylan but with better guitar, Which Side Am I On? reminds that choosing sides isn’t really an issue when the issue isn’t black-and-white. Any Time Now is an update on the theme that Leonard Cohen mined with similar success on Who By Fire .There’s also a brutally amusing, cynical number about jury duty and a new version of America the Beautiful which redefines that anthem much in the same way the Clash redid When Johnny Comes Marching Home. The album winds up with a straight-up cover of the Kinks’ Apeman, Adler raising his voice to a rare snarl when he gets to the part about how “the air pollution is fucking up my eyes.” For fans of the best of the new wave of great lyricists: Joe Pug, Jennifer O’Connor, Paula Carino and LJ Murphy as well as fans of the first-wave classics that Flugente’s songs more closely resemble.
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January 23, 2010 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment