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Let's Not Talk About Music
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  • It makes sense that Joey Agresta would release Let's Not Talk About Music under his own name rather than one of his more well-known monikers, such as Joey Pizza Slice or Son of Salami. Considering that the Burlington, Vermont resident first became known for recording tunes using an eraser headless tape recorder, allowing for endless layering and bizarre drop-ins on a single track, but without hearing what's being recorded over and having no way to erase anything, these songs are significantly cleaner-sounding. While still recording at home, he's upgraded to four-track and twelve-track tape recorders, and the instrumentation is much fuller-sounding than the cheap keyboards his older songs were played on. It's also the most personal set of songs Agresta has released, avoiding the quirky subject matter of his previous work and focusing on depression, disappointment, and a desire for love. The album starts off with a "Chariots of Fire"-like instrumental fanfare titled "A Win Song for Bernie," and given the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, what was intended to be a triumphant victory march ends up being a bittersweet hymn of failure, despite great hopes, and a perfect way to set the tone for the rest of the album. The songs are brief (generally around two minutes each) and deceptively simple, but filled with hooks that often make them seem happier or more joyful than they are. By far the most memorable tune is the one called "I Feel Like Shit and I Want to Die." Agresta doesn't have the greatest vocal range, so his cigarette-scratchy voice doesn't really avoid sounding like a depressed shrug, but the songs themselves resonate with anyone who can't shake depression or feelings of failure. "I Give" is particularly brutal, with Agresta repeating the title several times before limply muttering "who gives a shit?" Still, he's optimistic on other songs, such as the insistent "I Won't Give Up" (featuring extra encouragement from guests Palberta) and closing number "I Want to Live Again." While not quite as unique-sounding as Agresta's older work, Let's Not Talk About Music is much more emotionally direct, and contains some of his most powerful songs. ~ Paul Simpson
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