Josh Lederman's new record, The Town's Old Fair is a great sounding record, but it should serve as a lesson. There's something to be said for brevity. Soul of wit, you know. Cover the subject. Show what you can do, but don't overdo it. You don't want to beat your audience down with monotony, right? Right. I don't think so, and I doubt that Josh Lederman intended to do so, either. That's why I'm conflicted.
The Town's Old Fair proves that Lederman's a great songwriter and that his backing band Los Diablos is pretty hot, too. I've certainly enjoyed listening to it; it's a collection of alt.country-inspired rock music with a bit of the olde Irish thrown in to keep it interesting. Lederman's got a strong voice, too; he reminds me of both Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller and They Might Be Giants' John Flansburg. The music is sweet-sounding, too; it's crunchy rock that's most assuredly original, and I bet would be a lot of fun soundtracking your night out at the bar.
That's what makes the album's biggest flaw so difficult to mention: this album's too long. There are too many songs--sixteen songs simply overwhelms the listener. Sure, these songs are good, but listening to a record shouldn't be a chore, and that's what happened to me. By the time I reached the halfway mark, I was impressed and won over, convinced that this was a great band--but by the end of the record, I was a little bored. This could have easily been paired down to a really strong ten-song album, and you really wouldn't have noticed. Sure, the first few songs--especially "Forty Days" and "I've Been Down So Long" start off the album rather well, but great songs like "Fishs Eddy" and "Palinka" are diminshed somewhat from being placed between good but lesser songs.
I hope this lesson's taken into consideration, because it's held me back from being totally enthusiastic about this record. I still think they're an awesome band--I'd see them if they played here--but I'd be hard pressed to listen to The Town's Old Fair all the way through in one sitting.
Artist Website: http://www.coffeestainmusic.com
Label Website: http://www.ninemilerecords.com