Sam Coomes is tied to a lot of lush and rather put together pop music, from his heyday in Quasi (though they had some cracks in the sheen to be sure) to Heatmiser’s alt-pedestal ascension and Built To Spill’s major label moments. So its fun to see Sam just let loose. There’s a manifesto behind the sonic stripdown and it has to do with too much access to home recording technology and creating art rather than artifice, but truthfully the more telling bit has to do with liking practical effects in old movies. Coomes is right, there’s a certain grace to seeing the cracks in the surface and watching the animatronics move under the creepy robotic animals’ faces. Think the Rock-Afire Explosion playing on through a horrendous restaurant fire and you’re getting there. In that regard, Bugger Me is Coomes slapstiched version of a Suicide dreamscape, full of haunted organ and junkyard beats from a castaway rhythm box. It feels like a DIY puppet show might spring up at anytime with tiny marionettes banging out wheezy organ lines and a few stings getting tangled in the process.
It’s not the glowing pop orb of Quasi’s sound that he brings but rather his own hangdog sadness that’s always seemed a great part of his own songs. Coomes could always play the part of the downtrodden drinking buddy, but here he’s gone full junkyard Tom Waits to prove his commitment. The album’s got charms like a late night stumble on an lost b-movie; MST3K without the commentary, just bad effects and endearing moments that make you want to laugh through the pain.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.