Scott Pinkmountain (formerly Scott Rosenberg) apparently used to be a somewhat hot-shit Bay Area avant-garde composer/free jazz saxophonist, but then decided that by immersing himself in that music, he’d forgotten the importance of good songwriting. And so this transformation from free-form composer into burgeoning songwriter necessitated a name change or something like that. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what this disc sounds like: the creation of a guy who’s spent his entire life studying abstract music theory but failing to wrap his head around things like simple chord progressions and hooks. But ultimately, it’s his voice that ruins things here.

The album follows the story arc of a relationship gone bad, and when the relationship goes bad, so does the album, in my personal opinion. He actually paints a fairly interesting lyrical picture, but by song six, “Abyssinia,” his increasingly mopey and off-key indie rock warble starts to annoy the living crap out of me. In fact, upon about my sixth listen, I swore to never put this on EVER again; mainly because his “singing” has the exact same effect on me as something like fingernails on a chalkboard. It quite literally makes me physically uncomfortable.

Which is too bad really, because on a lot of this disc he’s got this “play-every-instrument-known-to-man-at-the-same-time” thing going on which totally works. If this were an instrumental record, this would probably be an A review. But unfortunately, it’s not.

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