Upon hearing the second track from Paul Brills’ recent record Harpooner, the lovely little pop masterpiece “Paris Is On”, you could easily be fooled into thinking that it was going to be a top-notch record. I mean, if a guy can make a song as catchy and enjoyable as “Paris Is On;” there’s no way that he could completely screw the pooch on the rest of the disc so bad as to almost completely negate the goodness of that one track, can he?

Sadly, yes. Yes he can. And even worse my friends: yes. Yes he does.

Harpooner is a stumbling trek through what happens when someone with marginal talent, and out of this world ambition, can be given free reign to make an atmospheric indie pop record. The result is rarely inspired (as with the iTunes grab-it must have jaunt “Paris Is On”), and almost completely crap (as is the case with the remainder of this disc).

Imagine if Elliot Smith (albeit an alive version, of course) were to take the dreamy pop ideas of his final Basement on a Hill material, and change the lyrics to uninspired word masturbation worthy of a fifteen year-olds MySpace page, and then mix it in a terribly unpleasant manner, and bam: you’ve got Harpooner. It’s going for thought provoking, but instead lands firmly on the plateau of annoyance.

The six minute closer “And So To Sleep” will surely do just that; of course, that’s assuming that you can grate through Brill’s wretched vocals and often too-far-from-his-range delivery.

As I said earlier; the only good thing about this disc is “Paris Is On,” Do yourself a favor: grab it as a single on iTunes, and save yourself the migraine that is this record.

(Scarlet Shame / Young American Records)

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