East River Pipe

Poor Fricky

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F.M. Cornog returns with his eagerly awaited second LP after the appreciative murmurs caused by his debut, Shining Hours in a Can (the British Goodbye California, plus all his stellar early 7" songs as additional tracks). Reviews that attempted to lump the uniquely talented Cornog in with some sort of "lo-fi" revolution, with such bands as Guided by Voices and Sebadoh -- since Cornog contents himself with recording 8-track in his home -- are misguided and laughable. For while those groups -- ERP is a person -- record haphazard, sporadic bursts of whatever tunes come into their heads, Cornog is busy multi-tracking undefiled recordings of his simple, neo-spiritual arrangements -- he's more Pet Sounds than The White Album. Poor Fricky in particular puts some distance between him and those other 24-track/mega-studio-eschewing-folks. Its 13 burbling tracks are more in the vein of Shining Hours' "Make a Deal with the City" (too bad nothing here is as nasty or as nerve-racking as "Psychic Whore" or "Helmet On," but that's OK), with a supremely prickling ambiance in his simple, only-slightly distorted, dreamy guitar signatures. Sometimes he'll add an ice-pop organ, and his vocal is as yearning and slightly resigned as ever. The likes of the luscious "Bring on the Loser" (nice sentiment, that, the opposite of "in your face"), and the happy "Here We Go" show that as he progresses, Cornog gets more and more likable, not a lonely loser but a transcendent-pop lover, as he better navigates his home portastudio for maximum results. Poor Fricky is as fresh as Pop'n'Fresh dough and as gently babbling as a spring brook. From a nondescript Astoria apartment to us, this is direct communication.

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