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- Home Recordings 1984-1990 Vol 1 by Joe Jack Talcum
6/10 Mike Staff review, 27 July 2011
This year Happy Happy Birthday To Me are putting out two LPs compiling Dead Milkman Joe Jack Talcum's solo home recordings, of which this is the first, taking us from '84 through to '90. It's got bright pink two-colour screenprinted covers and all. The stuff here is, as I suppose one would expect, fairly scrappy, but it's got a real charm to it as well...kind of like a much more lo-fi Jonathan Richman in the more focused parts, I think, with the simple wit of the songwriting and the earnest delivery. Some of it seems improvised, or if not improvised certainly pretty disjointed. Sometimes there's rambling vocals that don't seem to have lyrics as such, just mumbling that goes along with the guitar rhythm. In fact about half the songs sound like he was making them up as he went along, which is frustrating and makes me feel like my time is being wasted, but ultimately it does pay off when you get to the likes of the shambolically brilliant 'Get A Car!', which has backing vocals and everything so you know it was written before it was recorded. I guess if you're really desperate for some insight into his creative process the rambling bullshit on here is worthwhile but it's hard to see why certain tracks were included at all. I very much get the feeling that if they'd been a bit more selective they could've put out a really good 10-track album instead of a wildly inconsistent 17-track one but I still can't deny there's some gems on here, and I'll admit that album closer 'The Child Molester Song' did raise a smile.
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