Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Eric Apoe and They — Lost in Mishegoss
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-09-02
With Eric Apoe’s previous album, 2021’s Some Kinda Good News, I noted that Apoe is a singer-songwriter whose direct style is a welcome antidote to the over-produced sound so common these days, even among other singer-songwriters. Lost in Mishegoss is another great entry into his sizeable catalog, and I think it’s an even better album. As with the previous album, Apoe is aided by a large and diverse crew of collaborators, many of whom recorded in different cities. The songs center on acoustic guitars and Apoe’s gruff voice, and the other elements include accordion (Maury Rosenberg or Hugh Sutton), bass (Oren Sreebny or Stuart Wylen), violin (Alicia DeJoie), woodwinds (Jim DeJoie or Damien Atiken), added guitar (Miles Wiesel), and backing vocals (Kathy Childers or Saar Liven). In addition to various kinds of guitar, Apoe also plays drums occasionally. The most minimal arrangements appear on “Send in the Clowns,” with only keyboards (basically electric piano and a bass part), “My Amnesia,” which features acoustic guitar and a couple of heavily effected electric guitars, “Sister Antique,” with just guitar and clarinet, and “The Bells of Delusion,” with guitars and backing vocals. All are quite lovely in their own ways, and Apoe’s voice shines in these sparse settings, gritty but with less affectation than Tom Waits. On the other hand, the title track has a bouncy klezmer-inflected beat with prominent accordion, and “I’m Not Part of the All” is one of the more rock-oriented stongs, where electric guitars rule the day and violin provides counterpoint to the vocal lines. Other more forceful arrangements appear on “Ripple Effect,” “Looking for a Revolution,” “Rad,” and “Love to Listen to Me Lie,” though each one has its own type of energy. There are also songs like “Shiver” and “Can I Tell You a Dream” which are mostly acoustic but feature lovely arrangements for woodwinds and violin. Aside from the sheer quality of his songwriting, Apoe’s real strength on this album, as with others that I’ve heard, is his broad sensibility and ability to present his songs in different styles while maintaining a coherent identity. These songs have a timeless quality, as if they could have appeared any time since the early 70s or so, but they don’t sound old-fashioned or out of place in today’s world.
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