Douglas Martin wishes John Starks a happy birthday.
If you’re the type of person that spent as much time during the mid-00’s listening to so-called “freak-folk” as I have, J Irvin Dally has the type of voice you’ve heard before, even though you can’t quite put your finger on it. His pained high register is eerily reminiscent to a voice you’ve heard before, but you can’t put a finger on the name. It’s somewhere between the warbly falsetto of Chad VanGaalen and the light drawl of Jana Hunter. The music that accompanies his distinctive vocals his more slippery, more amorphous. Despistado opener “The Little Ones” and its follow-up track, “Brazil (Adelir de Carli)” play like digitally-altered versions of the tape-manipulated folk that Animal Collective mastered on Sung Tongs (don’t play yourself, it’s still their best record– Feels comes in at a distant second).
Much of the record’s 35 minutes uses the Sung Tongs template as a jumpoff point to forays into anthemic bedroom folk (“Salt Water”), tender balladry (“Wild Things”, “Sleep”, bonus track “Wild Horses”), the two-minute vocal drone that bookends “Shanidar”, and the chrysalis of piano-led track “Thick Red/Yellow Glasses”. Ultimately, Despistado marks the arrival of a talented young songwriter who, unlike a lot of his lo-fi folk peers, is ready to exit his bedroom and into the world. –DM
MP3: J Irvin Dally-“Podcast”