Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - Arkansas - Full Moon 106 - 05/23/05

Jerry Colburn
Smell the Love
Strip Mall of Sound

Sometimes when I'm sitting strumming away at my guitar I just wish I hadn't given up classical guitar lessons at the age of fourteen. I spent two years learning to play dewy folk tunes called things like "Balalaika" and "Sea Song" on my uncle's battered ¾-size classical guitar. Our guitar teacher, Petula Compton, had legs like tree trunks and never taught us anything remotely cool. As a result I got bored, and now the technical side of my musicality seems permanently stunted.

In short, I envy people like Jerry Colburn. On the basis of a CD like Smell the Love the guy has got to be stupidly talented. He even gave the album a hilarious title, and most of the song titles are pretty neat too ("Buzzy the Squirrel", "Ill Spanking" and "Dildo Baggage Car" spring immediately to mind). This is the kind of record that you put on and marvel at simply because there's so much to appreciate about it, so many details that make your ears smile and your eyes light up.

Smell the Love is an album of short sketches of songs with silly names and daft catchy melodies. Has Mr Colburn got ADD? Who knows, but he doesn't let you enjoy many of his wicked little melodies for long: they pop up, have you slavering for more - and then stop. And another one starts up.

The instrumentation is mind-boggling as well: synths, samples, bass, guitars, drum machines. They weave in and out of each other beautifully and some of the tones are great. There are shades of electro, funk, house, techno, IDM, pop and rock on this disc, and they're all rendering in bright finger paints and smeared all over the sound spectrum. It's a lot of fun.

But my overall impression is of a man who has a great album somewhere inside him that will eventually crack out, a record that isn't quite so self-conscious, or quite so schizoid. But for now, there's

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