The Year That Felt Like Two (Austin Town Hall)
Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., Aug. 10, 2018
Tumbling troubadour over a dozen years of playful pop, David Israel's fourth release plays out like a children's story about a cartoon astronaut shot into space only to face a midlife crisis. Continuing Jonathan Richman-witty wordplay through an endearingly deep gravel delivery, the preschool teacher employs usual backers Stephen Svacina and Julia Hungerford on comforting bass and drums. A rotating cast of collaborators also enfolds Annecy Liddell's twee backing and other orchestral additions. The Year That Felt Like Two somersaults into action on energetic, empathetic "Car Commercial," followed by the surf-charged "Life's a Wave." Machinery and existentialism collide with the declaration, "Somewhere there's a secret portal/ If you go, you'll be immortal." Zany ramblings sustain the six-minute "Little Fishy," juxtaposing technology and animals over pleasantly ramshackle, family-style instrumentals. The final two takes wander, "Coldwar Superchild" yielding gritty garage before decidedly dreamy diversion "Heat Is Escaping." Throughout, the 10 tracks repeatedly space out into midsong breaks, channeling a time warp introspection necessitated by the past year of American tumult.