Lach The Calm Before

Lach The Calm Before
A cursory glance over the press release for Brooklyn folk-punk hero Lach’s latest is a helpful suggestion of what’s to come. Dropping the rambling, flowery bio in favour of cut and pasted press quotes, bullet points and text boxes, it assaults the eyes with a riot of information that’s reminiscent of the black and white xeroxed flyers Lach started out promoting his ground-breaking sound with back in the ’80s. So it’s no surprise that The Calm Before is as far from what that title suggests as possible. Proffering a collage of ironic protest, subverted love and well-observed situational comedy songs, New York’s enigmatic institution loses none of his trademark wit on his fifth LP. Like 2004’s Today, electric guitars are eschewed in favour of acoustic ones, which collide with punk-ish sax, sweet harmonies and Lach’s Dylan-ish croak on catchy little numbers whose jauntiness belie their political bent. Anyone who wants to find out what anti-folk was up to before a bunch of young wannabes (Beck, Regina Spektor, Jeffrey Lewis, Moldy Peaches, to name a few) melted it down and made it into something new, should study this record carefully. Everyone else: batten down the hatches, sit back, relax and enjoy the storm. (Fortified)