Kid Tested, Mother Confused
With a voice reminiscent of Elliot Smith and a style epitomizing Raffi, Lou Barlow reenters the music scene in slow, slow motion. You may remember him from Folk Implosion, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., or from his early 90’s solo album (apparently if you release a solo album more than ten years after your first, you can still call it a debut). Although his influences stem from folk and indie rock, Barlow chose to name his album Emoh, which is also the second trackâ€šÃ„Ã´s title spelled backwards. Thoughtfully, the titles ruetamA or sselhtpeD seem more fitting.Barlow illustrates his musical capacity in songs like â€šÃ„ÃºCaterpillar Girlâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºRoyalty,â€šÃ„Ã¹ but fails to maintain the pace throughout the album. Tracks like â€šÃ„ÃºBallad of Daykitty,â€šÃ„Ã¹ a song devoted to his many cats, and â€šÃ„ÃºIf I Couldâ€šÃ„Ã¹ lack any signs of musical accomplishment. The lyrics range from pathetically childlike to absurd. â€šÃ„ÃºMary,â€šÃ„Ã¹ a biblical take-off, suggests Immaculate Conception was a cover-up to an affair between Barlow and Mary. Highlights from â€šÃ„ÃºDaykittyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ include â€šÃ„ÃºWhereâ€šÃ„Ã´d the kitty come from/ Whereâ€šÃ„Ã´d the kitty go/ The kittyâ€šÃ„Ã´s always hungry/ I told the kitty no.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s basically stoner music thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s okay to play for kids. Even the cover of Ratt’s #12 hit, “Round and Round,” fails to help the stature of the album. It’s glam rock 80’s lyrics combined with sullen guitar; it doesn’t work!
This album is full of ingenuity, but lacks any substance. The beats are simple, the lyrics are lame, and although his voice is attractive, it doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t match the nature of his work. This is definitely a rough start, but maybe his next solo debut in 2015 will prove to do better.