Witticism is a dangerous weapon to attempt to wield in pop music. Some songwriters have a knack for it; Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch and Morrissey know enough about the ins and outs of irony and language to bend words and phrases to fit their sly take on the world. Fans of songwriters such as these are generally not nearly as skilled at lyricism as their idols. Such is the case for Baskervilles. Midnight is full of half-developed character sketches and anecdotes that lack context and/or humor to make them noteworthy. Take “I Danced With Kate Moss,” for example; what could have been an indictment of culture’s fawning over waifish uselessness ends up being exactly what the title says it is. The bass player from Baskervilles got all up on Kate Moss at some dance club a few years ago. Apparently, we’re all supposed to be thrilled — and to a certain extent we should be — but only because this track is one of the few on the album where singer Rob Keith wrestles free of his Lee Hazelwood vocal complex. Throw in a twee-ed up version of the already lyrically saccharine “Another Free Show in Battery Park,” and it’s time to give Midnight its walking papers. Next.
Secret Crush: www.secretcrushrecords.com