Morton Zoe

Diaries of an American Dork

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Sounding something like a Now and Zen-era Robert Plant, Morton Zoe shimmies and whines his way through 11 existential tales of post-modern half-life on this 1995 debut release. The theme of inactivity and indecisiveness runs throughout Diaries of an American Dork, along with expressions of the resulting frustration: the battle within the depressive self, the fascination with the spinning world, foreign in it's commitment to movement and action. Zoe isn't a great singer; his notes are constantly cut-down and spit out in a snide but vulnerable delivery that's void of any technical merit, but it is quite listenable. The record is more of a poetic exercise than a musical one, as each lightly arranged mellow rock number blends into the next. One highlight is the pure depression of "Tomorrow," a cleverly disguised track with its bouncy beat and religious red herrings. Perhaps overly dismal, Zoe holds the right note on Diaries of an American Dork just a little too long -- the depth of his yearning and helplessness might have an increased affect if occasional manic contrasts were offered. Listeners feeling down and alone might want to get this disc if only to relish the fact that it can always get worse.

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