Andrew Kaffer

Idle Idol

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Formerly recording under the project name Kissing Book, Portland-based singer/songwriter Andrew Kaffer's debut solo album is an appealingly odd set of largely acoustic pop songs with gentle, pretty melodies and earnest, whispery vocals. In most hands, Idle Idol would be just another sub-Elliott Smith bedroom D.I.Y. record, but Kaffer didn't stop there. Idle Idol is not only spiked with brief, atmospheric instrumentals like the melodica-led "Rochester Life," the actual songs themselves are chopped and spun into crazy-quilt collages of sound, computer-manipulated by Kaffer into these strange little dub versions of themselves. Not quite the hybrid once known as "folktronica," because the electronic elements interrupt and overwhelm the otherwise mostly acoustic songs instead of being a solid, steady base for the stringed instruments, Idle Idol is its own odd little beast, and those with a taste for both intimate, folkish singer/songwriters and mad scientist computer games will find much to appreciate. However, fans of one style who turn up their noses at the other should probably steer clear.

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