Open Mouth is nothing if not gracious in the face of a bad review, proudly including in his latest press release an excerpt from iShotTheDeputy’s rather negative verdict on his recent single, perhaps demonstrating a sense of humour, or perhaps in a sarcastic snipe at iShotTheDeputy’s cultural insignificance. That’s the fascinating thing about singer-songwriters, you never know quite what they’re thinking, these brooding, precious enigmas.
There are some moments of reprieve in this record – in places (“Sous La Plage, L’Enfer”) there’s a hint of the Durutti Column in the coldness of the acoustic dirge. But by far the majority of the album is more more in keeping with the acoustic emo (if you can imagine such a thing) feel of recent single “Castle Keep”. Towards the end of the record there is a track constituted of samples of Bush and Blair speeches, against a backdrop of acoustic guitar, and I wonder whether Mr Mouth isn’t unwittingly doing Bush’s work for him by employing such a mediocre medium for his discontent, moving the listener with all the subtlety and sophistication of a Michael Moore film.
“Import/Export” doesn’t even have the soporific effect often associated with this sort of record, as the vocal, a poorly executed, painfully affected American accent, is a constant irritation. This singing style is, of course, no bar to success. And although he sings like the guy from Nickelback, Open Mouth will be forgiven in indie circles because he has wilfully marginalised himself by marrying this up with a relatively obscure acoustic style. So he is assured of a decent following, and of a good write-up in pages more credible, and more open to pop-up advertising, than these. However, for what it’s worth, the iShotTheDeputy verdict on this album is that it is tedious to the point of inducing thoughts of self-harm.