March 21, 2005

Aqueduct "I Sold Gold"

Tulsa, Oklahoma produced a boy genius, and his name is David Terry. All by his lonesome, he created an enigmatic one-man musical concept called Aqueduct, a product of electronic bleeps and blips, witty lyrics and great singing. (Dear readers, please don’t let that comparison make you think of Atom & His Package. While Atom was great, Aqueduct is so BEYOND that level of novelty.) Before relocating to the Northwest and becoming the toast of Seattle, he released an album, Power Ballads, which was an impressive yet auspicious debut; it impressed the powers that be enough that he soon found himself opening and touring with great bands such as Modest Mouse and the Flaming Lips. Many of the songs on Power Ballads reappear on I Sold Gold, Aqueduct’s full-length debut for Barsuk. It’s okay, because those songs deserve to be heard; after all, nuggets of pure pop genius don’t deserve to suffer in the dustbin of obscurity and self-released records only a few people get to hear.

And what great songs they are! Terry sings songs about all kinds of things, and he sings them all quite well. He sings about growing up while listening to Guns ‘n’ Roses (the self-explanatory “Growing up with G’n’R”). He sings of the hassles of being an indie-rocker in the middle of nowhere (“The Tulsa Trap”). He dedicates his time singing to people who hate his music and how he feels about those who dislike him (“Laundry Basket”). Most of all, he’s singing about the one thing people sing about the most: love. It’s not easy being a one-man band, and Terry’s had his heart broken a few times. So he sings songs about being happy in love (“Tension”) and all those other not so happy moments (everything else, it seems).

Of course, heartbreak for a boy wonder often translates into great pop songs, and I Sold Gold is certainly gold for those wanting literate songs about love, life and heartbreak.. His songs aren’t lo-fi, but they’re certainly charming in that lo-fi and in love kind of way. Exuding a charm that’s equal parts Magnetic Fields, They Might Be Giants and Brian Wilson—without actually SOUNDING like any of the above—Aqueduct will win you over the only way it knows how—sincerity. I Sold Gold is a very sincere record; it’s the simple, heartfelt nature of his words that makes Aqueduct more than just a geeky one-man bedroom experiment. “Whenever/Whenever/Whenever you fall apart/Forget her/Forget her/Forget her/She broke your heart” is great advice from a man who sounds like he knows what that girl did to you because she did it to him, too. The simple message of the song, “Whenever you are lonely you are not alone” undoes everything Morrissey did in the 1990s.

I Sold Gold is a solid gold collection of perky, funny and utterly catchy indie-pop. David Terry’s debut might have been auspicious, but he’s here NOW, and his music is colorful and beautiful and fun and enjoyable and it should sell gold.

--Joseph Kyle

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