Putois - The Problem Is Not a Problem Anymore (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Problem Is Not a Problem Anymore (2007)

Cerbral Cliff

Somewhere between Band of Horses and David Gray, there exists Bob Mason, a.k.a. Putois. With a stage name derived from an Anatole France short story (thanks MySpace!) and a new-ish record called The Problem Is Not a Problem Anymore, this Chicagoan may very well have what it takes to sooth your Pink Moon-lovin' heart. Overall, The Problem Is Not a Problem Anymore is a delightfully haunting, enchantingly charming folk record.

Not that it isn't without its less-than-stellar moments. The vocal rhythm to the spoken word tune "CTA" consistently teeters on the edge of stupid, delivered with a coolness unwarranted for what feels like an improvisational rant about smoking, drinking and rocking. On first listen, it's interesting to the extent that it's different from the rest of the record. After a while, though, it's just lame.

Luckily, The Problem is focused more on echo-y folk. "Safe Again" sets the mood with the repeated phrase "Once those lights come and go / We will be safe again." It's not much of a story, and it can get kind of repetitive if you're looking for something more lyrically deep, but if you approach the song from just the right mindset, you'll find you're in for an entrancing moodpiece.

"Safe Again" more or less sums up the record's M.O., although Mason does up the poppiness from time to time, such as on "Something Wrong with Steven." The guitars clips the mics while Mason's plaintive voice cuts through the mic, making for a catchy lo-fi diddy.

Putois' lyrics, depending on your perspective, are either simply mournful or mournfully simple, so don't read expect this lo-fi acoustic indie-folkster to be the next Nick Drake or John Darnielle. But as an aural experience, The Problem Is Not a Problem Anymore is a pleasantly downtrodden, mellow time, rife with ambiance.