Poetic songs of deep thought, self doubt and reflections on modern life make-up the playlist for Jeffrey Dallet’s album Abnormal Oddities. Subject matter aside for a moment though, what pours through is a folk-rock explosion of melodies and upbeat energy – Blind Love In Vain kicks things off with the fast pace and observational story-telling of an acoustic-rock, knees-up, full band experience. The sound is organically layered, warm and welcoming from the offset, and things continue to welcome you as the project progresses.
Someday follows the opener and sees the energy fall back significantly as a purely acoustic, gently picked acoustic guitar song emerges. The personal touch is furthered by the first person narrative and the adoration within the lyrics. As the soundscape grows, a totally different side to the songwriter begins to blossom, and the musicianship works beautifully in every instance. Bye Bye Middle Class Blues switches things up again, a hugely detailed and colourful ambiance and performance – Dallet’s leading vocal approach taking on a new style and another varied angle from which to come at this. The hook is notably one of the more infectious.
Dead and Lonely is a song that sounds beautifully joyful and optimistic, a feeling that stands in stark contrast with the lyricism and underlying concept. This sort of songwriting holds a definite level of strength in that it allows listeners to connect with the darker side of expression in a manner that isn’t depressing or overbearing. Gypsy Jewel follows and introduces one of the most stylish and seductive soundscapes of the project. The word gypsy in itself seems well suited to the gypsy-jazz swing of the music. Dallet’s songwriting again offers detail, scene-setting, and unwavering honesty.
Keeping the eclecticism strong yet always holding close to that natural musicality that is the Jeffrey Dallet sound, My Old Record Store takes things in a distinctly pop-rock direction, feeling like perhaps the most mainstream or widely accessible of the whole collection. Again, it’s a personal story, but it reaches out to those nostalgic cravings we’re all privy to. Another great hook puts in a good chunk of the work. Dear Dayton, OH comes afterwards and drives with the welcomed sound of the harmonica again. It brings a certain folk-realness with it, Dallet’s vocal delivery feeds further into that – the whole thing comes through as authentic, like a live acoustic show right there in the room with you.
Summarizing the entire album in some ways, Odd Ball Blues underlines the ideas that led to the crafting of this album. Dallet’s thoughts on being an odd ball among odd balls arrive with the full-throttle energy of live, distorted rock music here. The vocal delivery and the lyrics have an indie-rock edge that finishes off the project with something once again surprising yet no less appealing – far from it. It’s a great way to finish. A live show from Jeffrey Dallet would almost certainly make for a night to remember – never falling complacent or leaning to much in a single, emotional direction. There’s plenty to appreciate.