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Pujol releases album Kludge, Kludge album review, Pujol tour

Pujol — KLUDGE

Release date(s): May 20
Our Rating: 4/5
Spec Recs: “Pitch Black,” “Sacred Harp BFK,” “Youniverse”
In one word: Infectious

Words by Nicholas Robello

KLUDGE, having been recorded in a makeshift collapsible studio, lives up to its name in an ironic manner, becoming elegant in its inelegance. There are a variety of serious, real-life issues that singer and songwriter Daniel Pujol wishes to contend with, and he isn’t scared into softening or beautifying them for the benefit of the listeners. Instead, he thrusts them upon the listener, asking them to feel as he does, to great musical and emotional effect. This stark approach and creative sound has the feel of what would happen if the high energy of Foxy Shazam were to merge with the later work of The Clash.

The album is humorously described as being, like its namesake, “an ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole,” and at first listen it may feel as if this is the case. However, there is a palpable flow from song to song, in both sounds and the concepts addressed, allowing the album to become a type of poetic concept album, with a cohesive narrative.

The issues with identity that begin in the first song, “Judas Booth,” carry over to an actual fist fight between the selves in “Manufactured Crisis Control,” and continue through the album to the eventual conclusion in “Youniverse,” in which the speaker comes to a borderline Buddhist revelation of the inevitability of death. Amidst all this, the speaker also addresses a myriad of other present-day issues, such as the growing trend of our own inability to be away from cellphones and other media devices, or politicized technological advancements such as the 3-D printer.

Listeners are also provided with the benefit of brief tempo changes throughout the experience, with songs like “Spooky Scary” coming in just as they are needed to alleviate an overload of high-energy rock, turning instead to an older acoustic feel. This surprising track dripping with contemporary references ranging from the Smashing Pumpkins to the British television series Doctor Who, imparts a nostalgic feel of the early days of Bob Dylan, suggesting this is what he might sound like if he was just starting out today.

The combination of this high punk-orchestra sound, mixed with intelligently observant lyrics delivered by a voice that ranges from Dylan to Corgan, and a variety of perfectly utilized sound effects, clips and transitions help to create a stark sound that presents the approachability of a run-of-the-mill pop album, but a deep and feeling soul hidden within.

Pujol is currently on tour (full schedule) and will perform with Detroit Cobras and Grave Danger on Sunday, June 8 at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale. Tickets, $13-15, are available online through Ticketfly.

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