Jack Name

Weird Moons

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Jack Name's debut album Light Show was pretty much everything you'd expect from a bud of Ariel Pink's and a guy who played with White Fence. That is, lo-fi weirdness with an equal desire to weird you out and have you singing the hooks after the album ends. Name's follow-up, 2014's Weird Moons, is even weirder, more muffled, and harder to make sense of (though the chipmunk vocals that made Light Show a dicey proposition for some are nowhere to be heard). While delivering a set of songs that revolve around the moon, Name himself sounds like he's drifting out in space, beaming back wildly oscillating synths, naggingly simple guitar lines, and vocal transmissions that are made incomprehensible by reverb and noise. Whether it's worth wading through the layers of sound to get to the songs is a matter left up to the listener to decide; this isn't the easiest pop to swallow, even though it is melodic and fun at its core. Name keeps throwing up barriers to simple enjoyment, like the buzzing synths that circle around the otherwise pleasant "Under the Weird Moon" like a bug you can't quite swat, his super-arch vocals on "Something About Glenn Goins," or the drum sound on "Running After Ganymede" that seems lifted from a cheesy $10 keyboard. When he's not trying to be special and keeps things simple, the album really starts to take off. The rollicking noise pop gem "Watcher Talk" surrounds a winning vocal hook with some warm fuzz, the soft rock psych of "Io" is suitably dreamlike and floaty, and the loping "Werewolf Factory" does the best job of syncing up his experimental nature with some memorable pop hooks. Weird Moons isn't a step back for Name, but it's not a step forward either. He's got a little more work to do to catch up to his friends; maybe some stripping back of weird sonic gunk to let the power of his songwriting shine a little clearer will do the trick.

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