Rhume Snack of Choice

With his Rhume project, Jon Bartlett proves that while the world dances to the beat of a programmed drum, bedroom recording continues to thrive in the obscurity it did before Lou Barlow stuck his head up into the radar of the mainstream media a few years ago. Snack of Choice is a folkie, fuzzy and occasionally frantic work that avoids the absurd silliness that occasionally overcame Bartlett’s previous band, Steaming Toolie. It’s decidedly lo-fi, something that he is certainly familiar with, but while that contributes to the charm of Rhume, it’s also the biggest knock. Sometimes, Rhume’s ambitions are betrayed by this indie-sounding recording. The layered singing and trumpet on “Planting ‘96” isn’t quite as powerful as it should be, and one can’t help wonder what time and money might have done for a truly ambitious undertaking like “Turn Up the Jets.” Still, Bartlett’s quiet, heart-on-sleeve lyrics pierce the heart with an appropriate balance of tenderness and cynicism. (Kelp)