This solo debut was arranged with the assistance of more than thirty musicians and vocalists, adding touches like oboe, toy piano, accordion, pots and pans and finger snaps, Kurosky himself credited with the iron fist (sorry, Iron Fist) that holds the mess together in a single space.
Certainly, there’s a lot of Beulah on this record – namely, a good deal of work by multi-instrumentalist, vice-producer and ex-Beulah bassist Eli Crews, as well as drummer Daniel Sullivan, keyboard player Patrick Abernethy, and guitar/keyboard player Pat Noel. And it seems Kurosky’s gone back on his lack of desire to perform under his own name. So, after multiple surgeries, a marriage, a bittersweet move in and out of L.A., and four years of song construction, here’s a post-Beulah Kurosky.
This is the much-expected pop record that appropriately follows Beulah’s breakup, which occurred just prior to bigger-is-better indie pop taking off halfway through the last decade. As a result of his timing, which was perhaps ahead of the game during Beulah’s run, not so much today, this style of pop has the potential to feel a touch stale today, though it's nice and full, like his pre-Yoko period. But the lyrics are the thing, and this album is an effort spanning approximately four years, so issues of timing can sort of be tossed aside.
And it's got some beautiful gems. “She Was My Dresden” is simple, and a love song of the most subtle variety, a bit of a heartbreaker. Album conclusion “West Memphis Skyline,” like much of the record, reads like a story, a firsthand narrative that perhaps hits its high point at such: “He said it’s true that Jesus loves his sinners, but in the end it never really matters because He falls in love the same way as us, and if you think He feels no pain just wait ‘til His heart breaks.” Where this leads? “I was stoned out in the avenues, but I still found my way back to you. Where nothing in this world really matters except the sound of my own heart’s patter.” It doesn't go so far as "he wouldn't ever cut his heart out for you," but the man can still pair some words that are sweet and true.
Purchase The Desert of Shallow Effects
See him on tour.