Ralph Carney

I Like You (A Lot)

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Tom Waits sideman and Oranj Symphonette's multi-instrumentalist Carney plays all grunts, squeaks and peculiarities here with only the tiniest exception. Carney's sound imagineering defies classification (maybe it's skronk), though it has far more in common with the jazz avant garde of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane than anything rock. The Buddhist vibe of "Death Don't Come Easy" is straightforward till the joke hits: First you suffer, then you die. Tarnation's Paula Frazer adds a vocal to "Hawaiian Eye, " which as you can guess is kind of Hawaiian-but not really-and sounds like its played on autoharp, kazoo, jew's-harp and tin can (it's a cowbell) and of course, ukelele. Carney's surname is particularly appropriate-his songs have the appeal of a freakish sideshow. Anyone mourning the days when the Residents were cranking out records will welcome his sounds, especially when Carney takes the mic for his strange vocal excursions as on "Eye Protection."

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