Hashimoto April

Montreal's Gordon Hashimoto has done something pretty weird and wild on this debut. There is a poppy, radio-oriented selection that avoids dullness or predictability (especially "Sidewalk Support Group"), but it is experimental enough, with loops, mixes and a Japanese instructional language lesson tape, to keep the listener perked. With vocals similar to 13 Engines and the Violent Femmes, the music is often dark, fuzzy, reverbed and eclectic. The often-heard guest cello adds a deeper dimension and quality that makes a song noteworthy instead of merely quirky. Hashimoto is also smart enough to laugh at the world and maintain a sense of humour about things - the last track, as a for instance, is called "When Flea is 65." If the lyrics weren't as obscure and goofy as they sometimes are, he'd be in the same league of pretension as the Tea Party. The album is difficult to pin down because songs vary hugely from each other. Consequently, it's hard to figure out what exactly Hashimoto's pushing for. Most of these songs haven't got a prayer of making onto the radio - but then again, that's what they said about Nick Cave or Tom Waits. (Full of Beans)