Jeffrey Novak
Lemon Kid
Trouble In Mind Records
Street: 11.19
Jeffrey Novak = Tom Waits + John Cale
Cheap Times’ Novak is a literal one-man band, taking on all musical duties on this, his third solo album, and his second full release this year alone. While there is nothing specifically wrong with being prolific, sadly therein lies his problem: It is all too much to be truly appreciated. Not that his schizophrenic approach to making music is all unpalatable—it is more a case of a little going a long, long way. One assumes that the unintentionally yet appropriately titled opener, “Endless Repetition,” sounds like a first-stage demo on purpose, or that the title track is really dreadful, despite the briefly creative drumming that it starts with. The voice of punk was never meant to be melodic, but Novak screams way too much. The only time things come to fruition is on “Pictures On A Screen,” where his mostly restrained vocals finally match a coherent melody. –Dean O Hillis