Green and Shapiro's voices blend like a nostalgic dream -- hers smooth as silky stockings, his as rumbling and dry as a desert wind --- as they sing songs of broken hearts, messed up dreams, and sticky situations. The songs are bereft of any of the humor Green usually brings to his work; instead he and Shapiro sound deadly serious and thoroughly disillusioned with love. Despite the gloomy nature of the words, the melodies are always super catchy and the duo, along with producer Noah Georgeson, wrap the songs in warm arrangements that are built around a very '60s-influenced folk-rock sound, but expand into some gently orchestral territory at times. The songs would have worked fine as acoustic duets, but the care and feeding they give them really helps the record stick. So do the great vocal performances from Shapiro (especially on the doo wop-inspired ballad "Casanova"), the bouncy pop songs that sound like they could have been radio hits in 1968 ("Just to Make Me Feel Good," "I Never Found Out"), and the overall sense of satisfaction that comes from hearing the result of two writers at the height of their craft telling it like it is about love and life. Hopefully, Green and Shapiro realize the creative gold they’ve struck here and make this more than just a one-off project. Even if they quit after this, the album will stand as one of the best duet records of the era.
Green and Shapiro’s hippy guitar sound gels perfectly with their lyrics that snipe at couples caught in freefall. It’s like an angrier, updated Nancy & Lee, with ‘Casanova’ taking a hazy country tune and letting Shapiro sing over it like she’s defending herself on a stalking charge (”Don’t want the wrong person holding me/Why are you always finding/New ways of wasting my time/Why are you always hiding/Am I not supposed to look you in the eye”). The self-hate clashes so comically with the music it’s like listening to a Flight of the Conchords track, the psychedelic harmonies and surf rock guitar adding a cosy but warped little touch.
As the album rolls on, it’s clear the gentler the guitar tunes, the more they come barbed with ferocious, love letter-burning lyrics. This is country pop with black sequins, only safe for mum and dad to put on once the kids have been removed from the conflicted parties’ house. ‘Pity Love’ finds a no-longer-bothered Green explaining his antics to his mousy girlfriend, singing ”My heart is everywhere/Splitting out like thunder/Everybody’s cheating on each other/My pity pity love/Almost stronger than the real thing”. He makes up with Shapiro on ‘Pleasantries’, a duet that challenges ‘Fairytale of New York’ for its depiction of a pair of bellowing wasters, and while those tracks favour the guitars and tambourines formula, ‘Don’t Ask For More’ leans towards funk, showing that there’s more to the duo than attachment issues, an old acoustic and a campfire.
Ein Interview mit Adam Green & Binki Shapiro kann man hier lesen.
Auf Tour kommen Adam Green & Binki Shapiro ebenfalls:
21.03.13 Hamburg, Mojo Club
26.03.13 Berlin, Lido
02.04.13 München, Strom
04.04.13 Frankfurt, Zoom
05.04.13 Köln, Luxor