Joey Agresta - Let's Not Talk About Music

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-05-05

Being a purveyor of something that got a tag of lo-fi melodic bedroom rock was never easy. Ask R. Stevie Moore. The guy had a staunch but small fan base and critical acclaim for decades, only recently to transfer to something that would resemble recognition. Same thing with Ariel Pink, although much fewer decades are involved. Some guys like that you wouldn’t even recognize if you hit them with your bike on the street, like Kleenex Boy Wonder, for example.

It may have been hard early on for lo-fi-ers, but is it any easier these days? Maybe we should ask Joey Agresta. It took me less time to listen to his entire album “Let’s Not Talk About Music” than to find any credible information about the guy. Unless you are from Vermont and are a bit familiar with his previous incarnations as Joey Pizza Slice or Son of Salami.  Maybe lo-fi has something to do with lying low, just as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with low life...

If you judge the book, or in this case the album by its cover, you can immediately get the idea what you can hear inside those grooves, lasers picks or files (whichever) - a lonely guy or a girl (guy in this case) with a bit of unkempt look and a saddish expression on his/her face in a tiny room (probably basement) and a ton of instruments around him. And in essence, that is exactly what Joey Agresta gives you here - brief tunes full of harmony and hooks (with a bit of a muddy mix for good measure), and running away from the three-minute mark (the introductory all-instrumental A Winning Song For Bernie being probably a deceptive exception). Of course, the lyrics are laced with sadness and a bit of depression for good measure, with Baby Girl being an exception, I guess.

But is it any good? To answer that question, I must admit I’m a bit of a sucker for this kind of melodic lo-fi stuff. But even if I put on my ‘objectivity only’ glasses, Joey passes all the quality tests, unless, of course, you expect big, expensive studio production. You simply cannot neglect the quality of songs like I Dream Of Love (he couldn't cut that one to fit under three minutes), and Agresta’s lyrics are quite fitting his tunes all around.

So will Joey Agresta achieve anything resembling wider recognition with this one? I hardly doubt it, but at least reaching the status R. Stevie Moore has now would be nice. And deserved.

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