Doris Buzz & Friends
(Duplicated CD, Deluxe Edition)
The essence of good songwriting is good story telling, which is where John Krane\'s \'Doris, Buzz and Friends\' excels. The tracks on this short but packed album spin with well-described tales of brilliant dolphins (the title track), a real proposed alternative to the nuclear bomb (\'The Story of the Japanese Bat Bomb\'), a girl sadly listening to bad music in a coffeeshop (\'A: John Mayer\'), or a child\'s call to her lost dog (\'Shadow & Clementine\'). Whatever the subject, the lyrics are rich, fascinating, and at times, corny, funny, or very disquieting--even occasionally morbid, an early Randy Newman type of drunken longing. That\'s not to say that this is a depressing album. Far from it, in fact, as some of the tracks bounce with Beach Boys or Beatlesque melodies and odd eccentricities like overdriven synths, belches, sound effects, and harmonies. When it goes deep, it knows how to get there, but Krane is content to stay on the surface much of the time, toying with sound and lyrics to see who\'s really paying attention. The production is similarly mystifying. Some tracks practically sound like midi files with John\'s voice (which sounds a bit like Paul Simon) over them. Others are sweeping exercises in minimalism, with only a guitar or piano. Others are practically orchestrated in electronics (Political Campaign), or sly (In \'Q: Who Will Be The One To Save The World?,\' for instance, several clicks and pops are placed at appropriate points--both to encourage active listening, and as Krane says, \'to make them think their iPod\'s broken\'). Doris, Buzz and Friends can be laugh-out-loud-funny or very sad, confusing and enlightened, simple and ecstatic, often within the same song. It\'s the kind of album that everyone will love a part of, and although it takes a dedicated listener to love everything here, those listeners will be rewarded quite nicely.