It seems Miami singer-songwriter Rachel Goodrich has taken Feist’s “1234” and run with it into wild and unexpected territory. Goodrich moves that style of irresistible indie pop beyond Sesame Street into a land populated with oddball lovers who wander about sucking on ice cold popsicles, a place where there are polka-dots for clouds and the sun could very well be an incandescent light bulb. To give you an idea just how out there Goodrich is on her second and self-titled album, take a look at some of the instruments listed in the liner notes: a charango, a pump organ, whistles, a kazoo, bells and what Goodrich calls “obscure objects”. In fact, the song “Fire” feels like a feminine version of a Tom Waits ditty in its quasi-junkyard clamor. “Easier Said than Done” recalls Albert Hammond’s “I’m A Train”.
Where Goodrich swings for the fences is on the gorgeous piano ballad “Let Me Go”, which has the feel of a ‘70s radio chestnut in the vein of early Todd Rundgren crossed with the Carpenters. It’s a real contender, even this early in the year, for a Best Song of 2011 nod. It is so striking and sentimental—and out of place in the general wackiness of the rest of the proceedings—that it feels as though it belongs on a different album. Still, Rachel Goodrich is a goofy, infectious, well-crafted slice of Vaudeville-esque pop from start to finish. It’ll keep your toes tapping just out of the sheer whimsy, and you’ll find yourself forgiving Goodrich for some of her shtick and gimmicks, which include whooping, quirky count-ins, and “la la las” (“G-Dino”, which could be a kids song in a parallel universe, runs 37 seconds and solely consists of the line “I’m a little gangster dinosaur, I go bomp ba ba bomp ba bomb” repeated ad infinitum). For all of its idiosyncrasies, this album is a real winner.
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