April 6, 2008

Quinn Walker - Laughter's an Asshole / Lion Land

Artist - Quinn Walker
Title - Laughter's an Asshole / Lion Land
Hometown - Brooklyn, NY
Label - Voodoo Eros
Street Date - Out Now

RIYL - Panda Collectives, Donovan, Why?, one man orchestras, hippy-sters, The Beatles in their acid phase, Ariel Pink, damaged folk

Favorite songs - "Chicken Wire", "Smile for Me", "Rita Lolita", "Porcupine", "At the Party", "Hiding Behind Waterfalls", "Lion Land"

Richter Magnitude Scale - Strong

There are quite a few reviews out there calling Quinn a genius and a shaman. Maybe these same people need to listen to more records. That isn't to say Walker isn't talented but I have not fallen under the spell of his material which holds the power trio of eclectic, eccentric, and a plenty. There are a lot of homespun psych / experimental pop records out there and this my friends is a decent one but often too decadent and to dense for its own good. Maybe I lack the patience other writers have, those who seem to revel in this long bumpy and rather inconsistent ride but I really have trouble sitting through nearly 30 songs of which I only like 7 or 8 of.

That isn't a terrific ratio.

There are a few listening patterns I have when taking in a record for the first time. I begin with trying to listening to it on different stereos and in different conditions (headphones, car...). I like to hear how a record performs in different situations. Secondly I try to imagine how often I will listen to this record in the future. Will I remember this record in a year or two? When you are really honest with yourself and you are listening to a good but not GREAT record, chances are this won't end up being a record you revisit often if ever unless you cherry picked a few songs and your iTunes stumbles across a track or two in shuffle. Lastly after I have listened to a CD a few times I place it in my computer and as tracks play through I un-check the songs that don't wow me. The checked songs are imported into my computer and I move on.

Had this been a single disc, 6 decent songs out of 15 is pretty good and my review would have been kinder but when you add a second disc of second rate material, my impression of the record as a whole becomes diminished. Laughter's an Asshole should have been the whole record. I just don't seem any point to Lion Land. At least not clean and sober I don't. If the song "Lion Land" and "Heaven with you Tonight" had been moved over to Laughter's an Asshole bumping off two of the lesser songs, you would have an atomic weapon of a record.

Logically speaking any artist will water down their impact when they drown the listener in too much material no less marginal material. Apparently some music journalist love sifting through shit to unearth a few gems but I would like to think my time is worth more than that. Quinn Walker may think his listeners have all the time in the world to listen to him dispense his far out bedroom tales (which often fall miles short of the mark) but this listener prefers a more compacted concentrated punch. My time is limited. Sorry.

To avoid sounding totally negative, this is utterly creative freaky fun pop and when the record hits its peaks, it shoots off the chart. The cover art for Laughter's an Asshole aptly prepares the listener for what they are about experience. There you will find Quinn spewing forth a diverse range of rainbow colors wearing a primal horned helmet like that of Odin's warriors.

My only other complaint with this double disc is if you are going to go for the gusto and do two records for the price of one - what's with the crappy two sided card as the cover. No booklet? No lyrics? No kooky nutty art layout? Really? That doesn't make sense when everything else about the record is so larger than life and all encompassing.


  1. Anonymous 6/9/08, 6:54 AM

    Maybe you're a boring person?

  2. Your comment bores me, how about them apples.