steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Odd Fiddler

"I Do Have Secrets and You Might Think They are Interesting Ones" CDR

Series Two Records

Genre: lo-fi, outsider, Brit-pop

London, UK

October 2009

Culling obvious 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.

the odd fiddler's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]