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Levi Fuller
How Did I Get Here?
Denimclature Records

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 blues.

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 I couldn't."

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.

-Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

1. Figures Of Dead Men
2. How Many, How Often, How Soon?
3. The Other Little Engine
4. 17 To The Beach
5. Enemies
6. Tractor Beams Of Love
7. Retirement Living
8. Needless To Say
9. Rote
10. Seasons Of Wither
11. (untitled)


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