Putting The Fun Into Pop
Anyone who favours a bit of wit and intelligence in their pop music should take an enthusiastic step into the weird and wonderful world of Brooklyn’s grown-up kid Mitch Friedman.
Friedman has been making idiosyncratic, funny and original pop music for the best part of two decades. Now, he has released his most commercial and accessible album so far – ‘Game Show Teeth’ – and it looks like it’s time for the world to finally sit up and take notice.
‘Game Show Teeth’ is the fourth album of Friedman's career as a quirkily eccentric singer-songwriter, and it shows an artist who has come to fully understand his trade. It is as accomplished and technically adept in its production as it is musically vibrant.
And it’s not just us saying that either. None other than Ray Davies,
song-writing legend and lead singer of The Kinks, has become a fan of Friedman’s
unique skills as a wordsmith.
Having attended a Davies song-writing course in England, Friedman took on the ethos of the sixties legend that every song must have a clear structure and composed “This Is a Song” – an overt tribute to the simple formula that has helped to craft so many beautiful pieces of pop.
He sent the song to Davies - who describes Friedman as a "funny and interesting little man" – and the Londoner then played it for his students as part of his lesson on song structure. You can't get much higher praise than that!
The album kicks off with “This Is a Song", and the comedic element is there throughout. But ‘Game Show Teeth’ is nonetheless a varied and mature record. Friedman demonstrates his wit and charm in the lyrics of every one of these 13 lovingly crafted pop nuggets.
The variety on the record comes from the wide range of influences that have all had an impact on Friedman’s sound. "I Have Never Lied" tips its hat to fellow Brooklyn quirk-rockers They Might Be Giants. And it is a testament to his abilities that some of his former heroes he now counts as colleagues (or should that be playmates?) on the album, with Andy Partridge and Dave Gregory of XTC adding their expertise for the third time to a Friedman record - the latter contributing guitars and bass to the excellent "The Man That Talked Too Much".
Add in to the mix, the hilariously irreverent artwork and photography and you have an album that should amuse, entertain and thoroughly enhance any discerning pop aficionado’s life.
A famous clown recently said "Why so serious?" Singer-Songwriter Mitch Friedman teams with XTC to come up with a quirky and fun musical journey guaranteed to make you smile. Mitch is a long time follower/fan of XTC and the music will definitely appeal to you if you enjoy Andy Partridge. Andy and Dave Gregory contribute to this album as well. The opener "This is A Song" is a literal formula for how to make a great pop song (kids should pay attention here). The next song is even catchier, as "My Dumb Luck" is a brilliant track that will remind some of the "Oranges & Lemons" era with witty sing song wordplay. Mr. Partridge provides jazzy guitar licks to “Little Masterpiece,” and Gregory contributes several guitars and bass to the hyper actively folky "The Man That Talked Too Much." Even though Colin Moulding doesn't play on this album, his spirit is channelled in "Make Yourself At Home." It's also pretty obvious that Mitch spent a lot of time doing kids records, as "Blackout" and "She's Dynamite" uses all sorts of frantic effects and goofy arrangements. Even "In The Know" uses a whiny vocals and songstress Anne D. Bernstein for sweet backing vocals to go all over the place a la "I am the Walrus". A sure fire single "I Have Never Lied" has more than a touch of fellow Brooklyn quirk-rockers They Might Be Giants influence here. Additional support is also here from power pop princess Andrea Perry, R. Stevie Moore and Joe McGinty (Losers Lounge). Like the kitchy CD cover, this CD is full of simple joys. Sing along and repeat.