Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People debuted the latest in their succession of musical concatenations at Burdock last night. The program was played in the same sequence as their current release, available in a digital-only format.
Entitled Friendly Rich Sings For Only The Lonely, (in homage to a celebrated 1958 Sinatra album) the hour-long set featured an oratorical delivery of Sinatra`s selections in an urbane lounge noir stylette, with a woodwind overlay of precariously sliding intervals and alternately quizzical and menacing voicings of cavernous timbres, harmonized between arranger David French's tenor sax stalactites and Julia Hambleton's dual clarinet stalagmites.
The primary percussion tones of Tim Shia clung to a mid range of rhythm, defaulting to the lugubrious, making use of brushes, bundlesticks, and a long narrow bass drum. Providing a cosmic David Lynch creepiness throughout, guitarist Nichol Robertson undertook extensive reverb forays, occasionally venturing beyond the bridge of the guitar into sputnik spaces, to special atmospheric effect on Ebb Tide and Willow Weep For Me .
Spiderwebbed together by the logical extensions of Tania Gill`s Rhodes and Jon Meyer`s palpitating bass throb, the songs took on a threatening immediacy as they were restyled into seemingly interminable sonorous syllables by the cryptic motivations of vocalist Friendly Rich, whose husky rasp occasionally approximated a didgeridoo, and often suggested a subtle touch of the chainsaw or the dry moan of a thirsty vampire, repeatedly reducing the hopeless romance of each lyric to simple terminal hopelessness. The longing he portrayed was palpably beyond desperation, suggesting a state of psychic trauma, which his mordant onstage persona hipsterized into an archly self contained ecosystem of stoner misery.
Before releasing us back to the real world, (which now suddenly seemed oddly subterranean and dissonant by comparison), Rich read a page from his new pamphlet, illustrated by Gregory Pepper, which will be launched during the Lulaworld Festival at the Lula Lounge on June 9th. He also reminded us of his ongoing Monday night residency at the Cameron House and prayed for the rapid sales of his back catalogue, which includes vigorous original wrestlings with the work of Leonard Cohen, The Catholic Book Of Worship and Mussorgsy`s Pictures at an Exhibition, along with Only The Lonely, now available for listening and purchase at Friendly Rich on Spotify and http://www.friendlyrich.com/music/.
Buy it and weep.