Michael Knight, not a person but a band named after a fictional character, surround their second album I’m Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like This with a lot of rigmarole designed to amplify the album’s stature as art, or at least to self-consciously poke fun at the notion of doing the same. So the album package looks like a well-worn book; the lyrics are set up like the text of a play; there is a faux author bio; and the entire affair comes with the subtitle “A Somewhat Disjointed Narrative in 11 Tableaux”. If those aren’t enough devices for you, the album comes on two discs: one the album of pop songs, the other an instrumental version of the same. Alas, the hoopla around the album package sets up a framework of expectation the music itself can’t live up to. The band throws strings, Morricone and musical-theater reference points, and lyrics likely to be called “literary” around songs in the Andrew Bird/Rufus Wainwright terrain that are at base, average. The instrumental version highlights some of the prettier trappings of the songs, while inevitably pointing out their less interesting structures.
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