Wreckless Eric AmERICa
(2015, Fire Records)
England-born Catskill resident Wreckless Eric's kitchen-sink-pop masterwork, AmERICa, his first solo album in 11 years, makes you want to cozy up to chaos and bring some ramshackle glory into your life, as the songs do. Eric is a chaos pro: After penning the much-covered, immortal 1977 hit "(I'd Go) The Whole Wide World," he turned his back on "the industry" and accidentally pioneered lo-fi recording, which brought scorn (then praise); he's lived on the cheap in at least three countries, adventured, survived, thrived, started over, and made and endured a bit of, as his name suggests, wreckage. But, rendered through his work, it's beautiful wreckage.
As is his wont, Eric recorded AmERICa at home and played a lot of stuff. Cellist-to-the-stars Jane Scarpantoni (Springsteen, Nirvana) brings color and depth, while multimedia artist/neighbor Brian Dewan adds six-string and "synthetic choirs." Singer-songwriter and indispensible spouse Amy Rigby lays on banjo, guitar, and lush harmonies. The distinctive swirl of stringed instruments, unpredictable loops, and assorted pet sounds gives Eric a cobbled platform from which to lovingly skewer both his past in "Several Shades of Green," and his newfound country in "Sysco Trucks," "White Bread," and "Life Eternal." He allows some bonhomie on "Have a Great Day," drinking in the US with gusto. But whether fed up, in love, or both, AmERICa is an infectious half-hour-plus you'll wreck your house to again and again. Firerecords.com.