Published Aug 22, 2014When news broke that enigmatic songwriter Lewis' apparently one-off album L'Amour was found in an Edmonton flea market earlier this year, the soft, billowing songs and the singer's Arthur Russell-esque croon sparked a flurry of music nerd activity that culminated in the record's reissuing by Light in the Attic and a frantic search for both the artist and any more of his music that might be found. The results were fruitful on both accounts: Lewis, a.k.a. Randall Wulff, was found, and so was a second LP, Romantic Times.
Unfortunately, Romantic Times isn't quite the record that L'Amour was, and removed from Lewis' compelling narrative, the music is, to put it frankly, pretty lamentable. Though it's the same voice, the gear Lewis employs here is more "cheesy midi setting" than the swirling atmospherics that marked his debut, and leaves less space for his trembling tenor to resonate. Worse is that without the sonic touchstones that made L'Amour interesting, Lewis is revealed as a mediocre songwriter: "Don't Stop It Now" and "Bringing You a Rose" are not only difficult to tell apart, but they feel distinctly improvisational and meandering, especially when Lewis eschews real words in favour of less-than-stellar vocal acrobatics. This one is for the hardcore collectors only. (Light In The Attic)