Shelby Bryant Cloud-Wow Music

Shelby Bryant was previously a member of the Clears, a band that only managed to release one album (also on Steve Shelley's Smells Like Records) before calling it a day. Now he's back, launching his solo career with Cloud-Wow Music, an album that tries to establish Bryant as a wacky, eccentric musician in the vein of Syd Barrett or Daniel Johnston. It's safe to say that Shelby Bryant is an acquired taste, just like Johnston, whom he chooses to cover on the album. Or to put it another way, the quirkiness is through the roof and, at times, it feels like there is a calculated attempt to be unbearably cute. Maybe it's just that he really is unbearably cute, but it makes for songs that can be hard to listen to. Not that everything is a dead loss, though, he does have an ear for a good tune (although his lyrics need a little more work) and some of the arrangements could even be called catchy. However, the dilution effect is so great that this would make a better record if it was cut in half, at the very least. A little bit of Shelby goes a long way, and 15 songs are probably more than most people can take in one dose. To be perfectly honest, the tweeness of the whole endeavour gets kind of annoying after awhile. If he could just keep that under control then you might not need to keep one finger on the skip button. (Smells Like)