influence from Belle & Sebastien and The Smiths, it's
no wonder Sweden-born Pell made the move to London a few
years ago. While his debut record, I Wrote Yr Name On a Public
Toilet, featured Pell alone, this latest incarnation of
The Odd Fiddler finds two members - keyboardist Dan
and percussionist Tank - joining the cause. The sound is a
bit fuller, but still fiercely lo-fi.
As was the case with
the last record, I Do Have Secrets and You Might Think They are
Interesting Ones is a strange album. This is mainly the result
of Pell's bizarrely off-key vocals, although the compositions themselves,
influenced by Brit-pop of yore, also boast their fair share
of innate quirk. Primarily because of the vocal atonality, I Do Have
Secrets is likely to rub most audiences the wrong way upon
first listen. Certainly, they take some getting used to, as does
pretty much every facet of The Odd Fiddler's music. Even the
long-winded title to this album warrants a second look or three. And although I
have yet to fully grasp all that is going on here, I do see some value in these unusual songs.
It's as if they take you to a whole different world, where the
Melodic Method is completely distinct from our culture's musical
norms. Like encountering the music of Jandek for the first
time, listening to I Do Have Secrets is a disorienting affair
- "Goodbye Filthy Child," for example, is frankly haunting in its
acoustic minor-key wistfulness, while "(I Was) A Good Liar" is the
strangest ballad you may ever hear.
A few listens down
the line, I still can't tell if Pell is an incredibly
eccentric genius, or simply an outright hack. Outsider music is a
strange and exhilarating grab-bag, and I Do Have Secrets is
no exception. If I can leave you with one recommendation, it would
be to approach with caution - there's a good chance you'll
abhor this record.