this year, Papa M (David Pajo's most recent solo vehicle) put out a very
surprising EP entitled Sings. It sounded like it was recorded by
a bunch of hillbillies in a shack. I mean in a good way. It was wonderfully
folky and was filled with some very entertaining banjo picking. Though
I thoroughly enjoyed the record, I must admit I dismissed it as an inconsequential
Pajo has one of the most notable resumes in indie rock. He was a member
of bands including Slint, Palace Brothers, and Slint and has played on
records by Royal Trux and Stereolab. Traditionally a bass player with
a passion for audio experimentation, Pajo has always placed himself in
the background. On Sings Pajo introduced his shaky baritone to
the world along with a new-found talent for writing great rootsy folk.
Whatever, Mortal is Pajo's strongest solo venture yet. Similar to
Sings, Whatever, Mortal has a very rootsy feel to it and
yes there is plenty of banjo to be found here. What makes it unique is
Pajo's successful merging of traditional songwriting with his flair for
experimentation (as shown in the past with bands such as Tortoise). Pajo
is backed by the class-A cast of Tara Jane O'Neil, and Will Oldham who
accentuate Pajo in subtle, but important ways. Oldham's influence is especially
noticeable giving the record a feeling similar to his own masterpiece
I See a Darkness.
Though Whatever, Mortal is at times a tad melancholy, Pajo is not
afraid to experiment and even make light of his music. Take "Purple
Eyelid," for instance, with its playful sitar introduction and "Krusty"
with its hilarious Lisa Simpson sample murmuring beneath the music.
And don't blame Pajo for jumping on the folk revival bandwagon... he was
making records with the Palace Brothers long before the trend began.
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
| December 2001 | Issue 21
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