BEEN tuned to the BBC World Service,
listening to Arthur Negus delivering a
forthright and powerful lecture on the
ethics and basic philosophy of
reconditioning antique chairs, when I
casually flipped the dial to find Kid
Jensen spinning a piece of
fresh-from-the-press vinyl entitled
'Theme From The Balcony'.
yielded a confusingly alluring musical
plasticity, like a midnight downtown
meeting of the Lounge Lizards and Tom
Waits. It seemed like an attempt to stir
up a sleaze-riddled, fake-jazz storm.
with fingers snappin' out the rhythm, the
low deep moan of an upright bass, a brief
run along a vibraphone and, later, a
saxophone attacked with an uncouth
coarseness. All instruments generally
being handled with a punky modicum of
singer sounded as though he was gargling
with a high-powered bleach, his phrasing
slithering and twisting into partially
non-decipherable throaty expressionism
but managing to cough out such lines as the
heat in here makes me hot and
'what time is it?', later to be
repeated in French.
It was a
song seemingly hellbent on creating an
effect, crafting a clever illusion of a
particular style, and it was likeable
despite, or perhaps because of, its bold
and deliberate inauthentic.
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