Waving With Newtons

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Call Larz another bedroom genius brought to wider attention via the Black Bean and Placenta Tape Club label -- which he is. But he's got that extra bit of special something about him, which is why his Waving With Newtons album is such an inspired find, especially considering it was recorded when he was around 19. With the help of some friends here and there on drums (and on guitar and sax on one song) but otherwise tackling everything on his own, Larz creates a series of inspired songs on this album, exploring a range of wry lyrics and quietly entrancing music. Peter Jefferies has been named as a comparison point, and certainly songs like "Important," with Larz' dry but emotional voice over an arrangement led by piano, can call the New Zealand inspiration to mind. "Costume" is another gripping highlight, the singing soft and buried while the truly melancholic (and beautifully so) combination of piano and synth leads the heartbreaking way. However, though Waving With Newtons isn't a sunny experience per se, it's not quite as aggrieved or twisted as Jefferies at his most extreme. Even the apparently downbeat cabaret piano blues of "When Coffee Can't Help You Anymore" suddenly shifts to a just sprightly enough melody here and there, while the desolate closer, "Bjitumen's Pissed Paper Temple 439," manages a similar combination of opposing styles. There's a good sense of reach throughout Waving With Newtons -- no two songs are quite the same, though they're all clearly by the same creative mind. The dank, psychedelic queasiness of the instrumental "Film," the breathtaking acoustic guitar/drone shimmer of "Contact," and the nutty, jaunty stumble of "Wake My Steel" are all good examples of what Larz can do when he tests his more common style.