Buddy Greenbloom,
My Little Underground
(Brekan Arts, 2003)

This album includes 10 covers of songs written by Jim and William Reid, co-founders of '80s band Jesus & Mary Chain. It opens with the title track, and folk-western singer Buddy Greenbloom's vocals sound like a sleepy Lou Reed or semi-comatose Leonard Cohen -- gravelly, two notches off monotone, bringing a whole new concept to the term laidback.

Not having been a fan of the group that originally released these songs, I am unable to make informed comparisons, but these tracks are uniformly arranged in a slow, low-key, downbeat, edge-of-blues, hint-of-folk style. It quickly became wearying and depressing to listen to, but may well appeal to those who like this type of music, or who are particularly interested in covers of the Jesus & Mary Chain.

"Sidewalking" lifts things momentarily, with a good walking beat around which a slide guitar slinks and slides, but the sensation is short-lived and the following tracks descend into morosity once more. The concept may or may not be laudable but, original or not, the music sounds like it is being played on a turntable under a sea of molasses. It is difficult to differentiate between tracks; with the slight exception of "Sidewalking" and the live version of the title track, they all sound sorrowfully similar. This is the musical antidote to Prozac and should carry a warning against listening to it if you are clinically depressed.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 31 July 2004

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