The sound of one man and his keyboard, this album really is a treasure for those that thrive off the notion of novelty. The keyboard is a Yamaha PSS-560, and the man is Saul Adamczewski, shamanic lead guitarist of The Fat White Family. About as DIY as they come, this album is so endearing in the charm offered by the equipment used, as Saul meanders his way through a collection of cover versions that combine the sound of the keyboard’s clicky drum machine with some tones matched only in tackiness by their novel brilliance. The man himself describes Karaoke For One as “Part exotica, part Penge”, and offers a take on the covers album as unique as that description.
From 80s pop songs, to pub rock classics, to singer-songwriter gems, this is a reflection of one man’s bloody good music taste, covering all the important bits of the past in a way that’s respectful and unavoidably loveable. Saul’s cover of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak is genuinely touching, an a capella middle 8 giving it that touch of depravity that follows Adamczewski’s musical projects around. The Isaak cover sees his voice crackle and croon, rough and patchy but definitely oddly moving, with the “I-I-I-I don’t wanna fall in love” caterwauling stirring the very depths of your soul.
The highlights come from the more ‘cool’ songs covered; there’s a version of Dr Feelgood’s Roxette that sounds like Suicide, whilst the cover of Shane MacGowan’s Rainy Night In Soho combines a bit of Yamaha melodicism almost childlike in its simplicity, which (and I might say this as a biased Pogues fan) sounds very tender in this incarnation.
This is the first thing released under the Insecure Men moniker, and whilst it’s difficult to see where that band – a fully fledged 10 piece that features Sean Lennon – will go from this, it’s definitely one of the most essential and engaging listens of the year so far.
(Written by Cal Cashin)