Feller Quentin - I Am Not A Monster (Cover Artwork)

Feller Quentin

I Am Not A Monster (2005)


Feller Quentin's new album takes traditional folk and tweaks it with studio experiments and newer technology, much like Beck's own forays in the world of folk. By the close of the album you will find Quentin switches back and forth between three song writing styles: slow, hushed folk ballads ("I Won't Stop Killing Birds," "Slim, Poker Dog of Paintings"), more up tempo bouncy romps ("The Bottom Of A Well," "Life Of A Camel, WWII"), and atmospheric noise folk numbers ("Last Promise Of A Seed," "Song For Any Old Lady").

Quentin is not new to the underground music world, as this is his second solo album, while he has also worked as part of a hip-hop production duo the Latter and has fronted the rock act Hattattak. Here Quentin goes it alone though, as he plays all the instruments (everything from drums and guitar to mandolin and cello) and handles all the vocal duties. Lone vocal responsibilities may not seem too impressive until you hear some of Quentin's three part harmonies and ability to morph his voice into different delivery styles.

The lyrics on I Am Not A Monster really help it to stand out from other folk releases. Quentin casts off traditional storytelling themes and political undertones for stranger, more quirky lines. He talks about everything from a two-tongued nun with a secret bride to the trials and tribulations of a camel and the problems that come with finding a pet you can ride when horses and cows can't fit in your house. In one song Quentin even has an argument with a fly over why he hit it with a spoon. Although this may make the lyrics seem childish, Quentin is able to walk the fine line between absurd nonsense and creativity pretty well, with only a few moments of Raffi-like outbursts.

The only time I Am Not A Monster struggles is when Quentin's electronic experiments go a bit too far. The strange noises at the closing of songs such as "Last Promise Of A Seed" and "Heroes Have Cheated" don't seem to add much to the songs, while the vocal production on "Invocation?" sounds strange thanks to its 1920's level of quality, and "Shuffle Up, Shuffle" with its card shuffling sounds could have served as an introduction to "Slim, Poker Dog of Paintings" without being its own separate track.

Quentin has created some laid back and warm folk that is positive and fun throughout. If you can ignore the few moments of awkward experimentation and absurd lyrics here, you've got a pretty solid album full of great melodies and talented songwriting.