“It’s Halloween, we’re in the kitchen/I’m the devil and you’re a witch/and you’re angry we didn’t dress up for the holiday.”
That opening line to “Big Babies” pretty much sums up what listeners can expect to find on Probably Human. The album, the first full-length for Boston and later NYC area musician Noam Weinstein, is chock full of sardonic humor and wry depictions of promising relationships gone bad. The music itself may not win any awards for originality, but Weinstein (with, apparently, no small amount of help in arranging and production from the equally multi-talented Tyler Wood) safely avoids sounding the least bit hackneyed through some inspired use of Fender Rhodes, accordion, banjo, soulful backing vocals, a brass section called The Softcore Horn Stars and a choir dubbed The Fecal Tones.
The simple and heartfelt — too simple and too heartfelt, in a way that seems bathetic or trite — acoustic ballads like “Satisfied,” “Something Falling” and “Angel” are the weakest points on Probably Human, though it’s safe to say they’re neither unbearable nor entirely out of place among such enjoyable mixed company. The Dixieland party music “When I Get My Shit Together” (Every song’ll be sweet, every joke’ll be clever/[…] The ladies will love me forever and ever”), the mellow/frustrated shifts of “Big Babies,” the clever groove-laden tracks “Pushing Sixty” and “Rosetta Stone” and the amusingly tongue-in-cheek interplanetary romance of “Alien” more than make up for the rather strained teary-eyed moments. The title suggests some uncertainty concerning species, but there should be no lack of confidence in this disc’s near universal appeal.
Noam Weinstein: www.enoam.com