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[Off The Record]
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The Incredible Moses Leroy

This is one of those sketchpad albums where you get a few really good ideas (some of them even developed enough to be songs), a little homespun ambiance, and lots of genre-bending clutter and confusion. Ron Founenberry, a/k/a the Incredible Moses Leroy (civil-rights activist Moses Leroy was Founenberry’s grandfather), is for the old-fashioned Beck fan who prefers the live-band warmth of Mutations to the squiggly electro-pulse of Odelay and Mellow Gold. Besides one sample and some drum-machine tracks, this a rocking pop album with a kaleidoscopic bend. Founenberry plays virtually every instrument.

" Anthem " is punky new wave with skinny-tie keyboard lines and wall-of-sound guitars. " Tomato Soup " is a steamy and smooth James Brown–instrumental vamp funk. The big drawback to Founenberry’s zany, " anything goes " approach is that it tends to pass off failed experiments as novelty numbers. " Our Onemillionith Customer " would have been fine by itself — imagine listening to the Beach Boys rehearse back-up vocals in an old echo chamber. But Founenberry crowds it with ’80s-style Steve Miller Band keyboards and tinny drum machines. " Treble " is dreamy pop sabotaged by what sounds like a plane flying overhead. And " Fuzzy " is a twee mix of mariachi flavors that’s more " clever " than clever.


Issue Date: April 19 - 25, 2001

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