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Boomkat Product Review:
It wasn't so long ago when SJ Esau's debut release, a fantastic little 7" on the lurvely Twisted Nerve record label popped in for a mid-day brunch - we all kind of fell for its slightly skewed charm and were eager to hear what else the feller had in mind for the future, and finally here it is. What's more confusing is it's on Anticon, yup I said it right, ex-hophop backpackers label extraordinaire Anticon is now issuing wyrd folk? Well I guess it's been on the cards since 13&God, and to be quite honest when I'm listening to SJ Esau I'm surprised how much I can hear the influence of Anticon acts such as Clouddead and Sole. That's not to say that Mr. Esau is a rhyming fellow (he's not) but there's a shared aesthetic - that crumbling recording quality, attention to detail and almost psychedelic song-writing style. This is actually the glue that holds the album together, and although the songs themselves might sound to a casual listener like Pavement being covered by a lesser-heard British folk act, it's a hell of a lot deeper than this when you dig in a little further. For a start there are all sorts of references - BBC Radiophonic Workshop, modern psychedelia, electronica... and then there are the lyrics. Yep you might have guessed from the title of the album that the man's got an oddness about his writing, but little will prepare you for such gems as 'Cat Track (He has no Balls)' or 'Lazy Eye'. Thankfully throughout this brightly coloured land of the bizarre SJ Esau manages just about to stay on the right side of zany and never breaches into total dribbling lunacy, allowing you to play the album through without wanting to chuck it at passers by. A crucial and very brave signing for those folks over at Anticon - let's hope this is only the beginning of their venture into fractured folk forms. Recommended.