Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rickolus - Troubadour

A double, spread over two discs with designated titles ("Roads" and "Towns"), Rickolus' Troubadour is either the work of a self-obsessed singer-songwriter with a much needed editor or an artist with a creative burst so massive that an editor would only corrupt the musician's artistic intent.

Take your pick, really, because there's evidence of both floating around these two dozen cuts, penned by Richard Colado in a massive ode to his wife. But love makes us do crazy shit, and I suppose parlaying the muse into a double isn't that bad, particularly if the results are worthwhile.

They are, most of the time, straddling the line of romantic intentions and a fair amount of processed cheese if you dwell too much on easy journal details like "We drank to much on Halloween/But ended up under your sheets/With glitter on our lips and hands" which, while I'm sure was a wonderful memory for Colado, has no practical frame of reference for the rest of us trying to find a connection to the song.

The other issue-and this is a complaint throughout the "Roads" selections-is how it blatantly channels the In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and makes very little attempt to either add or differentiate from it. So be warned,  half of Troubadour requires listeners face the unenviable task of having to wade through Colado's devotional to his better half using tired Jeff Mangum strategies. It's enough to make you want to throw in the towel and cuddle up with  good book, say perhaps, The Diary Of Anne Frank.

The good news is that the approach used on the "Roads" disc aren't repeated for "Towns." The difference is apparent immediately on the decidedly more rhythmic half of Troubadour, beginning with the low budget electronic grit of "Hobby Horse" and continuing through the course of a dozen more similarly appointed offerings.

The songs still revolve around Colado's relationship, but there's almost a feeling that he's working from a completely different palate and writing from more relatable events. The bargain priced electronics give "Roads" a more experimental feel in some instances, but this is counterbalanced with Colado's voice which takes on a more emotive and melodic feel against the second hand beats.

"Most Of Us" nicely mines that moment when you're young, but confined to an adult world and you get a brief moment outside of your grown up obligations to go out, just like you did in the old days. You suddenly realize that you're not really missing much by staying home instead of going out. "Most Of Us" documents Colado's moment of clarity coming home and finding the porch light on, reflecting a simple act of kindness but also illuminating the notion that perhaps life is happening right in front of you, and you just need to remove those blinders of self-pity to see it.

At a mere 2:13, "Dreamzzz" hints at the possibility that Rickolus could sneak a hit out of left field one of these days, and it'd probably be more of a surprise for him than the rest of us. With little more than three chords, a primitive beat and a simple chorus of "Do you want to be in my dreams/You know I really want you to," Rickolus could easily tweak up the charm and ear candy here and find himself with a lot more ears paying attention than his obligatory cult artist status provides him now.

Closing cut "Whatever Etc." reminds us "I won't find the meaning of life this weekend," which might be a good thing considering how his significant other prompted such a long-winded exercise in this two-fer. Hopefully, weightier topics won't prompt another burst of creative excess, or at least the kind that forces the listener to whittle down the end result rather than to leave them wanting more.

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