Only Funny the First Time (DFY)
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., April 15, 2005
Only Funny the First Time (GFY)
How Andrew Duplantis found time to make a solo album considering his bass duties with Jon Dee Graham, Alejandro Escovedo, Tia Carrera, and now Son Volt is a mystery. It must be exhausting, but it spells out the musical continuum of Only Funny the First Time perfectly. Working mostly in alt.country watercolor, Duplantis' subtle shifts in mood and tone accentuate his hangdog lyrics, suggest myriad influences without slipping into outright thievery, and, most importantly, provide a reliable anchor for his legion of guests. Gourd Claude Bernard's lonesome accordion gives "Right Above You" a sad Cajun flavor; Graham's lap steel on "Nowhere to Be Found" outlines Fred Ramirez's baritone guitar in a spaghetti Western sound; and the Tosca strings, plus Duplantis' piano and Matt Giles and Hubbard on horns, give "Petrified" the full-bodied orchestral air of Wilco's Summerteeth. "Over the Fence" and "Warning (the Guillotine Song)" rock with Escovedo-like conviction, while the vocals of the Damnations' Amy Boone on "Window" could melt the hardest of hearts. With all this going on, it's no wonder Duplantis sings "you wonder where home is today" on "Nowhere Today." Luckily, this musical chameleon is likely to be comfortable wherever he lands.