Reviewed by Christopher Hess, Fri., Feb. 4, 2005
Second Whirled (Jumping Man)
"Without time, everything would happen at once." That, from "Without Time," relays well the barely contained feeling of Rob Halverson's second solo release, Second Whirled. It's all over the place, sparing no sound or experiment, but it's been assembled into a format just sensical enough to understand. Mr. Well-Kept Austin Secret begins with an ending, the sprawling, epiphanic "It's Over," and after an odyssey equal parts insight and confusion, he finishes with "So Love Away," a heartbreaking arrival at the truths that exist at every journey's end. Like all adventures, it's the movement that matters, and the going here is great fun. Sure, Halverson screws around a lot, but the goofiness of "Puppet Man" and the odd humor of "Light Bulb Lady" are inherent to his disarming sense of playfulness. In the midst of all this, it's easy to forget Halverson is an outstanding musician, wringing slyly brilliant notes and melodies from guitars, piano, and all manner of other instruments. (The guest roster is impressive as well, and far too lengthy to get into here.) In other words, Second Whirled is an ambitious album, grabbing at all the sound and joy it can get its big grubby hands on, and twisting and taming it into a wild concoction of inspired mumbo jumbo. It's weird and beautiful and fun and stupid and scary and sad, just like life, just like music ought to be.