steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

review
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info opinion

Edan Serge Gillen

"Darlene" 7"

BLK THNDR RKRDS

Genre: outsider, pop

Sep 15 2008

Information is sparse when it comes to Edan Serge Gillen, although as far as I can discern, this EP was originally put out as a small-scale CDR release before getting eternalized in vinyl by the folks at BLK THNDR RKRDS. What we get is a brilliantly bizarre D.I.Y. nugget that ranks as one of my most prized seven-inch possessions. The A-side kicks off with a wham in "High School Dance," a frantic rave-up of fifties pop that sends you back to a very, very warped highschool ballroom. "Memphis, Tennessee" is a bit less consistent, but its dark chorus provides a beautiful dash of noir. Meanwhile, "Darlene" is the record's sterling ballad, a touching, modernized 50s-era sap song given Gillen's oddball tongue-in-cheek twist. All this is not unlike one of the more accessible Half Japanese records, but more all-over-the-place. Gillen turns each song into quixotic mess of ideas, implementing trademark components of fifties music and beyond "be-bop-a-lulas," iconic piano riffs, a moody organ part, and so on.

Switch over to side B for a less accessible romp. "Wrong" is a journey of sorts, following our protagonist as he rhymes about gunning down a rival and evading the police. As the story progresses, the music changes accordingly, resulting in several really good bits amidst a wildly metamorphosing song experience. Eerie "My Love is a Fire" ends the record in a strange, futuristic haze - it seems oddly appropriate, although it is far more experimental than the record's other songs.

Alternately funny and creepy, Edan Serge Gillen's Darlene seven-inch is a bizarrely whimsical romp that could be the greatest single to come out since the fifties. Or at least the most original one.

edan serge gillen's myspace

87%

youuuuuuuutube!: "memphis, tennessee" video, gillen live on piano

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 5 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]