Recently in this forum, I recommended the indie-folk stylings
of D. Benway. Mr. Benway, I am pleased to inform you that
I have located your long lost brother. If these two doppelgangers
ever meet, the world may collapse in its own irony. Levi Fuller's
guitaral technique leans to a slicker, cleaner slightly jazzy
inflected style somewhere between Leo Kottke and Bela
Fleck. Crisp electric notes blip and echo like sonar. But
the percussive elements and slide guitar are stolen from delta
Several curious instrumentals warm the waters, the first being
an anesthetizing acoustic number with slo-mo banjo and some theremin
sounding whistle that leaves you with a sleepy grin. "How
Many, How Often, How Soon" has the sparse feel and circles
of a Vini Reilly composition, though it's got more direction
than a whole column of Duruttis. To me, "The Other Little
Engine" is more of a riverboat ride than a railbender. Either
way, the travelers get held up by some obstacle and then manage
to break free. But it's all for naught, as the punchline goes,
"I think I can't/ I think I can't/ I think I can't/I knew
Fuller's untrained voice, vulnerable and unsure, is the vessel
for his unique thought processes. The observations of "Enemies"
introduce his startling insight, "I always wanted to have
an enemy/but this isn't what I'd imagined/instead of sharp retorts
and broken windows/and schemes of destruction/we have uncomfortable
silences/places we can't go/and friends who don't know what to
say to whom." The oddly sentimental "Tractor Beams Of
Love" would have fit neatly into Ian McCulloch's Candleland.
The vocal dissonance on "Retirement Living" is enough
to banish wives with perfect pitch from the room. But on the down
side, the guitar tones force you to join her (or beat her.) The
high points are capped by steel guitar, stomping and clapping.
The Fahey tendencies will detract for some and draw others.
In a fistfight, I would have to side with D. Benway except when
Fuller is opening for New Model Army, and Justin Sullivan
decides to jump in. If Nik Freitas and Herman Jolly
show up, all bets are off.
1. Figures Of Dead Men
2. How Many, How Often, How Soon?
3. The Other Little Engine
4. 17 To The Beach
6. Tractor Beams Of Love
7. Retirement Living
8. Needless To Say
10. Seasons Of Wither
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!