On the surface, Lucy Mongrel has created a fun combination of world beats, classic country, heartfelt folk, and electric guitars. It sounds like little else, and has no equal. Lucy Mongrel’s blending of these diverse musical elements is admirable, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth listening to. Mostly, it makes it sound like music you’d do your best to ignore at a community street fair.
The first 10 seconds of Lucy Mongrel’s self-titled album seem intriguing. “Mean in the Streets” begins playfully, with a catchy rhythm and bright instrumentation. Unfortunately, Lucy Mongrel chooses to begin singing in a goofy voice, and while the effect was probably meant to be lighthearted, it comes across as annoying. Once Lucy Mongrel sings in her regular voice, the initial opinion has already been formed, and the rest of the songs never manage to change this first impression.
The rest of the Lucy Mongrel’s songs ramble around, falling into the either obnoxious category (such as the ill conceived “Circle The Wagons” and the thin “Miss Rowena”) or the songs-to-skip-completely category (such as the ill-conceived “Livin’ the Blues” and the tiresome “Ode to a Cowboy”). While some songs are definitely better than others, such as the nearly redeemable “Don’t Call It Too Late” and the inspired “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed”, none of them can exactly be considered good. All the songs here are too flawed to fully be enjoyable. Lucy Mongrel only seems to think she’s saying original things in her lyrics. With lines like “Freedom nation, seeking a better life / Dreams of a man and wife” from “Freedom” and “Cause now I’m with a man who treats me right / One who knows to come home to me at night” in “Thank You”, Lucy Mongrel goes no deeper than the surface of these situations. Then with songs like the insipid “Max the Circus Cat”, she puts too much effort into being funny while never accomplishing it. Someone might find Lucy Mongrel’s music amusing, but she’s trying too hard too be cute and clever. Yes, her style of music has never been done before, but maybe there’s a reason for that. Lucy Mongrel may show some promise somewhere, but it’s not worth it to try to find it.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article