CD Roundup

Alec Ounsworth’s “Mo Beauty” and 60 Watt Kids’ “Welcome from the Bright Side”

PHOTO COURTESY ANTI- RECORDS

PHOTO COURTESY ANTI- RECORDS

Mark Brenden

Alec Ounsworth ALBUM: âÄúMo BeautyâÄù LABEL: Anti- Records Alec Ounsworth always seems to accomplish the oxymoronic feat of making the most wretched voice youâÄôve ever heard sound appropriate. The Clap Your Hands Say Yeah frontmanâÄôs first solo effort âÄúMo BeautyâÄù is a loose-wheeled freight train of folk rock howlers that thrives in the purgatory of the not spectacular but not disappointing. It has been a busy year for Ounsworth, having released an August album with side project Flashy Python, which involved the creative juices of Man Man, The Walkmen and Dr. Dog. He whips out the musical toolbox in the multi-faceted âÄúBones in the GraveâÄù with Tom Waits guitar tones beneath Kermit the Frog vocals. But the gem of the album is the elegant âÄúHoly, Holy, Holy Moses (song for New Orleans)âÄù âÄî a sedative ballad that properly depicts New Orleans as the tragic American city that the 21st century has turned her into. The song has the deep-seated charm of fellow indie-folk crooner Elvis Perkins. Lyrically, Ounsworth is in the top tier amongst indie folksters, although it can be hard to tell âÄî his garbled wails are no easier to understand than in Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. âÄúWhen YouâÄôve No EyesâÄù stands above the rest as the most poetic, but the whole album flexes formidable lyrical biceps. Overall, the album screams 7 out of 10. It has the listenable grooves and poignant ballads that Clap Your Hands Say YeahâÄôs sophomoric slump âÄúSome Loud ThunderâÄù lacked, but is without the timeless sentimentality that their self-titled debut strapped. 3.5/5 Stars 60-Watt Kid ALBUM: âÄúWelcome from the Bright SideâÄù LABEL: Absolutely Kosher Listening to 60-Watt KidâÄôs âÄúWelcome From the Bright SideâÄù could be dangerous for the mentally frail. Its here-then-there melodies and jumbled lyrical structures could quickly make your mind unhinge itself âÄî itâÄôs stuff like this that causes schizophrenia. The album is sacked full of directionless art rock that seems to want to go everywhere at once, but never actually gets anywhere. Animal Collective and The Dodos are the groupâÄôs most obvious influences, but mental disorder isnâÄôt far behind. Each song dedicates itself to a droning organ foundation on top of which singer Kevin Litrow provides chaotic asylum poetry. The song that succeeds most in doing this is âÄúTake the Pain Out of Your Chest,âÄù which has Litrow promising to relieve someone of a great pain in his or her chest, but the songâÄôs disorderly grooves ironically instill a certain pain in the ears, which is somehow rather satisfying. All in all, âÄúWelcome From the Bright SideâÄù is bound to impress art rock connoisseurs, twitch rock fiends and people who like to smoke meth âÄî but the epic search the band makes for a melody throughout the entire album ultimately leaves them empty-handed. 2/5 Stars