Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele - The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele (Cover Artwork)

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele (2009)

Paw Tracks

So, Animal Collective. Weird enough to keep them from any kind of major popularity, but with endless indie cool. As the contemporary classical music fan's pop music of choice, they're getting to the point where they can pretty much do anything they want and have it accepted by at least one group of music fans.

One of their attempts at branching out comes in the form of releasing records to showcase their friends on their own Paw Tracks label. Dent May is one of their new discoveries, and the name 'Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele' is enticing enough to make me sit up and pay attention. Sounds...kooky. Sounds...kitchy. Sounds like it might be a fine slice of pop music.

The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele is almost exactly what it says on the cover. It is certainly good-feeling, with simple, chirpy indie pop tunes backing up sweet lyrics that are crooned by Dent May in a kind of lounge-style Elvis Costello voice. Opening track "Welcome" features the obvious lyric "Welcome to my record / welcome to the show / welcome to the party / please enjoy my home" before diving headfirst into whimsical tunes about girls, dancing and going to Paris, and it's all very sweet and nice.

The uklulele is definitley there, and depending on your feelings on the instrument, is definitely magnificent to hear, a pleasant change from the typical guitar-led songs that tend to be the norm in this style. Unfortunately, though, the ukulele is not as prominent as the cover might suggest. Backing vocal 'ooh's and finger clicks and the odd snatch of a horn are all welcome and only add to the record's charm, but unfortunately, they are all drowned out by the bouncy bass lines and percussion, which can tend to rely heavily on the tamborine. The ukulele certainly feels like a gimmick, and as the gimmick is lost beneath more standard elements, the album loses sight of the point of itself.

The songs, whilst definitely pleasant, are all a bit samey -- usually just slightly faster or slower variations on the same rhythm with slightly different percussive instruments and lyrics on a slightly different kooky theme. The biggest 'thrill' is the occaisonal surprise of a twangy electric guitar.

A vaguely interesting, yet ultimately forgettable listen, then, with pretty much no replay value whatsoever. I honestly expected something a bit more out of the ordinary from a band championed by the folks in Animal Collective, and whilst this is by no means an awful record -- it's a perfectly pleasant way to spend 35 minutes -- I might be a bit less enthusiastic about any future signings.