That One Eyed Kid – Crash and Burn
Anyone who likes smartly crafted electronic pop will love this EP. It’s the third from Boston based singer/musician/songwriter Josh Friedman’s band project dubbed That One Eyed Kid. The project has made tremendous strides in both its art and recognition since its debut and, in some respects, Crash and Burn represents a refinement and consolidation of what has come before rather than a quantum leap in creative endeavors. The five songs on this third EP are definitely cut from a different cloth than your typical electronic fare, but they are firmly in keeping with the style, imagination, and general panache Friedman has exhibited on his earlier releases. Synthesizers and drum machines are, naturally, the primary instruments on Crash and Burn, but they aren’t the only tools in Friedman’s box and his vocal prowess will undoubtedly surprise new listeners in the best possible way. This is a collection explicitly crafted for authenticity that happens to have vast commercial potential. Such confluences of fortune are rare.
“Bright Big Red” has a spartan, stripped down thrust from the first and the opening section is peppered with some sharp and boisterous flourishes that sound like synth guitar. The percussion is the key to this song’s success; it has an appealing stutter running through the bulk of its duration. This is a song that shows he knows when to turn up the heat and when to back off – colors rise in the mix before dissipating again and Friedman never restricts himself to one line of attack. “Burn Out Right” has a much more percolating bounce than the opener and rarely varies from the same straight forward tempo established in its earlier moments. He shows a great talent for gradually ramping things up while still tossing in a few of the same unexpected embellishments enriching the first track. He lets much of his restraint go on the track “Native Advertising” and the busier changes and arrangement never compromises the overall unity of the release. He uses a lot of double tracked backing and harmony vocals on this song, as well, to excellent effect.
Another song with exceptional construction is “No Touching”. This is That One Eyed Kid’s loving glance back toward the soul and R&B that shaped Friedman as a kid and young man, but it feels quite natural despite his different frame of reference and electronic musical support. His voice is particularly suited for taking on this style. “Rewind” is reminiscent, in some ways, of the first track. There are significant moments during this performance taking mere seconds and never becoming larger motifs – the recurring hammer like swells in volume in the finale will certainly catch your attention. It’s a fine closer for Crash and Burn that follows its own wayward muse wherever it may lead and demonstrates enough confidence many will follow. It isn’t misplaced.