Fred Lane

From the One That Cut You

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    8
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From the One That Cut You starts out like a relatively straightforward, if not quite professional, big-band jazz record, only to get progressively stranger and more surreal as it goes on. A portion of the songs -- including the title track, a weepy country ballad parody -- come from a stage production (also entitled "From the One That Cut You") and find Lane working a sort of low-rent Bobby Darin-meets-sex offender persona. While the self-consciously silly scat vocal interlude on "Fun in the Fundus" is enough to induce a slight cringe, Lane and company generally handle the humor aspect with about as much finesse as is possible, and parts -- like the spoken word interlude in the country ballad title track -- are really funny in a disturbing sort of way. The instrumental portions -- which include a shambling spy rock tune, a Captain Beefheart-evoking skronk rock workout "Mystic Tune," and bit of Art Ensemble of Chicago-ish improv -- share the same sort of menacing/goofy ambiguity as the vocal numbers do, also revealing more of the ensemble's avant-garde underpinnings. The album climaxes with "Rubber Room," a minor-key piano lounge ballad that eventually gets overtaken by a mass of squelching, skronking horns, to rather disorienting effect. Taken as a whole, From the One That Cut You is such a collision of different elements -- absurd humor, genre parodies, avant-garde jazz-derived improvisation, and an almost no-wave-like dissonance/attitude at points -- that it really doesn't compare with anything else in terms of sound or sensibility. It's an album destined to appeal only to specialized, unorthodox tastes, but it does have a left-field charm that fans of Shockabilly and certain other Shimmy-Disc artists, for example, may well be able to relate to.

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