Jad Fair and Daniel Johnston

Texas Platters

Record Reviews

Jad Fair and Daniel Johnston

It's Spooky (Jagjaguwar)

Those who attended the Fair/Johnston gigs around the Electric Lounge's demise doubtlessly expect little from a collaboration between these two musical eccentrics. The shows mixed high doses of ineptness and pretension and little of the innocence and magic that colors the best of Fair's and Johnston's work. It's Spooky, combining tracks from the pair's 1989 self-titled album with outtakes from those same sessions, on the other hand, is a silly grin looking for a face. The Half Japanese founder occasionally covered Johnston's songs before this teaming, and it was always evident the two shared similar attitudes toward minimalism, and sure enough, Spooky is almost scary in how ideally the two work together. Mind you, non-fans of the two as individuals aren't going to be swayed by Spooky, but for aficionados of either or both, the co-written songs like "Tongues Wag in This Town" are melodic and fun, and both Fair and Johnston's excesses are kept in control to the point where they don't pass from charming into irritating. The choices of cover tunes are most telling about what makes the artists tick, as they rollick along on Phil Ochs' bitter "Chords of Fame," and the Bacharach/David chestnut "What the World Needs Now." Johnston takes the opportunity to do both songs that Glass Eye wrote about him and spit them back from whence they came. Plus, their version of the Butthole Surfers' "Sweat Loaf" is just plain hilarious. And if you want to see just how shrewd Mr. Johnston is, pop the disc into your computer -- and make sure you watch the video until the very end!

***

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Jad Fair, Daniel Johnston, It's Spooky

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