Published Nov 27, 2015Just in time for the holidays comes an early, idiosyncratic duets record from the Burning Hell's Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom (who sometimes tour as a duo). But seeing as one song (semi-autobiographical waltz "Fuck The Government, I Love You") is set at a New Year's party and another ("In The Future") sort of concerns Christmas, now's as good a time as any for Don't Believe The Hyperreal to tide fans over until the next full-band Burning Hell album, Public Library, which is due out in April.
Don't Believe The Hyperreal sees Sharratt's sweet voice sharing the spotlight with Kom's familiar baritone, though Kom's still penning the tunes. The comedy in Kom's lyrics seems to have spilled into the genre this time — the record is a loving yet slightly parodic homage to 1960s Canadian folk records (think classic Leonard Cohen). There's something funny in the instrumentation (which, on Don't Believe The Hyperreal, includes acoustic guitar, clarinet, harmonica and ocarina) that comes through in the duo's relaxed and loose, sometimes meandering solos.
Kom's mellowed out a little on his usual wordiness, though wordplay and inside jokes still abound. "Somebody To Duet With," for example, is a song-long excuse to squeeze the juice out of an excellent, oft-overlooked pun.
The mini-record's strength (and weakness) lies in the fact that Sharratt and Kom were probably making it mostly to entertain themselves ("I don't sing for reviewers or reviews / Every song I sing is for you," sings Kom). Expect smiles and homey-ness, not perfectionism.
There are brilliant moments, however. Take the brevity and poppy wisdom of "The Love That Treats You Right" by Peter Damakos (of Blimp Rock), or the tear-jerking closer "Eugene & Maurice," based on the true love story of Where the Wild Things Are author and illustrator Maurice Sendak and his psychoanalyst partner, Eugene Glynn, sung by Sharratt alone. (Headless Owl)