Little Dickman honcho Chris Yaniak recently sent me press information on this next group that sets high on his label roster. Hailing from Long Island, New York, Davey Jones created Lost Boy ? as a bedroom four-track experimental pop recording project, self-releasing a number of LPs, EPs, and singles the past half-dozen years. Davey’s first official EP, USA USA, was released in 2011 on Old Flame Records.
A series of home demos, live CD-Rs and cassettes followed between 2011 to 2014. Exploding In Sound released the Wasted EP in the spring of 2015, and Canned was published in March 2015 by Papercup Music, the first Lost Boy ? full-Length album recorded as a band. Goose Wazoo is the self-recorded sophomore LP that was released in September of this year on Little Dickman Records/State Capital Records.
Since its inception, Lost Boy ? has played countless shows with the likes of Daniel Johnston, Titus Andronicus, R. Stevie Moore, The So So Glos, Skaters, Mr. Twin Sister, Real Estate, Sharkmuffin, Purling Hiss, DIIV and much more. Davey Jones is also a touring member of Brooklyn-based bands such as The So So Glos and Bueno.
Goose Wazoo opens with “Farmer Mysterious.” This is simple, alternative pop composition at its finest. With a finesse that reminds me of Blondie (old Blondie) and has the same carefree magic of bands such as Guided By Voices, Jones’ musical interplay works with his melodic choices quite well. Guitars, bass, drums and additional musical accompaniment operates in harmony with Jones’ overall method and point of view. Strange backing vocals in the middle-eight and fadeout are icing on a very sweet cake. Sloppy “in your face” charm and unhindered attack (in a good way) make “Farmer Mysterious” a great opening track.
“Replay” is up next. Coming straight out of a Ramones meets Sweet Menagerie, this is 1:06 of poppy, backbeat interplay of the funfest kind. Jones makes no bones about who he is or what he’s doing with this song. Guitars are ragged, tube-fueled fury as drums and bass bounce along for the ride. Done with pure abandon and joy, “Replay” gets its point across with time to spare.
“Born 2 Lose” swings into a mid-tempo direction as Jones waxes poetic over the top of complex chords and rhythm accompaniments. “Born 2 Lose” reminds me of The Records and their brilliant debut album from 1979. Jangly, melodic as hell and crafted with keen originality, “Born 2 Lose” reminds me of that band in a big way. Lots of great electric guitar mixes well with Jones’ addictive vocal. Compositionally speaking, this song has great appeal and radio potential as well. It retains an old world poppy charm mixed in with Jones’ personal and stylish best. This is a winner for sure!
“Love You Only” is another song that reminds me of early 1970s John Lennon. Jones combines choice melody with lush and luxurious guitar chords. His ode to love may be typical fodder in the music business, but his use of extraordinary bridges and choruses underneath his lyrical prose makes this a standout track with plenty of guitar play for the fan of the six-string.
Up next is a strange little wonder called “Pimple Sith.” Jones unwinds immediately, pinging harmonious lyrical charges over odd and dissonant guitar chords, bass and drums. Jones bangs out a fantastic song filled with all the things you’d never discover unless you listened to this record. There’s nothing “in line” with this song when it comes to the music business, and that’s exactly why it works. The song seems to get odder and odder as it makes its way through its paces. Verses smooth things out as Jones moves into his building bridges before returning to verse and the eventual chorus. Guitars jounce and jangle through the piece as Jones continues his theatrical vocal release. Quite a fantastic song that shows talent far outside the commercial realm.
“SOS” is up next and rolls out of the speakers with all the might of Pavement and the moxie of Elephant 6 when it comes to substantial similarities. I love how Jones uses the guitar to emulate his vocal at times, and the rhythm work is sharp and in contrast to the electric guitar power of this tune. When it comes to guitars, Jones knows when it’s time to crash into the meat of the song and when to hover on the outskirts. Harmony work is also of high note here. Nothing steps on itself or other parts of the song and I commend him for that. This is one of my favorites on the disc.
Moving around a bit, I came to the disc namesake, “Goose Wazoo.” This is yet another example of outstanding compositional skill. Jones doesn’t skimp in any area, and this is no exception. Instruments break out and move aside for Jones to start his vocal presentation. A display of melody and skill that showcase not only his voice but his skill as a writer as well. Jones doesn’t lean on influences here as he soars from verse to refreshing verse before hitting the chorus. Guitars down step as bass flies high on the neck and drums nail the whole thing to the musical mat. The song ends on an ominous note, brilliantly ending another excellent song that should see him higher up the industry food chain.
I continue to move around the disc looking for standout tracks which brings me to “Have You Seen My Brain?” Once again the powerful monsters of Guided By Voice rears its head here. Jones melds addictive melodies with simple, poignant guitar work to get his poppy point across and it works like gangbusters. If I could think of one thing that makes this project stand out I would have to say that Jones has an original voice in his head and relies more on his ability than he does on borrowing from influences. When I mention influences here, it’s only as a way to describe what I hear and in the context of something I consider to be quite good.
One last song that I wanted to mention is “It Before.” The last song on the disc, this is one of the grungier songs he’s recorded here. Guitars are a veritable hailstorm of crunchy, fuzzy goodness and the lyrical delivery is real spit and vinegar to boot. At 1:31 in total time, “It Before” makes its point as quick as possible, getting right to the meat of the matter without much buildup or fanfare, which works quite well for the piece.
Goose Wazoo has a total of 14 delightful and original songs, some of which I didn’t get to cover due to space issues, but suffice to say the album is something I’m keeping high on my playlist. Davey Jones is a complicated and stylish songwriter and will do well on the Little Dickman roster as well as other future ventures and tours.
Speaking of future endeavors, Lost Boy ? has two high-profile shows coming up in this month of December. The first will see them over at the House Of Independence in Asbury Park with The Lonely Biscuits on December 16, as well as an appearance at Webster Hall in New York City on December 17 with The Lonely Biscuits once again.
For more information on Lost Boy ? and their excellent new record, Goose Wazoo, head over to www.littledickman.com, https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/goose-wazoo/id1145593877, and https://statecapitalrecords.wordpress.com/store/.