In 2000, alterna-folk duo the Moldy Peaches, comprised of Kimya Dawson and Adam Green, emerged from the New York underground scene armed with funny suits, vulgar songs, and a total disregard for production and recording aesthetics. While the group was quirky to say the least, beneath its shtick and low fidelity rested clever, cheeky folk and endearing naiveté similar to that found on Beck's first album, One Foot in the Grave. Much like the oddball sensibilities of the '60s cult garage band the Shaggs and many other musical anomalies, the tie that bound each foul note and fractured song was candor, cemented by the duo's knack for lyrical creativity and playful simplicity. In 2002, each member released solid solo albums; however, sadly, on Green's second solo effort, Friends of Mine, the charm that characterized his previous work is lost in a landfill of excessive arrangements and trite lyrical irony.
For this latest recording, Green has stepped into a real studio armed with his acoustic guitar, a string section, a bass guitar, and some drums. The sound that is forged is similar to that of '60s folk/pop musicians such as Simon & Garfunkel, but the accompaniment (especially the strings) distracts the listener from the poppy guitar hooks that lie at the core of the album. Also, this time around Green has cast aside his withdrawn vocal whisper and opted for a more monotone tenor. Worst of all, his once creative lyrics have become derivative, as if there was a precedent of silliness he had to maintain. What was so amazing about his earlier work is that despite limitations of money, instrumentation, and production, Green created emotive songs and entertaining music. Now, it seems that he has become too self-aware, that the honesty that once pushed each jalopy of a pop song along has deflated like air from a tire.