Album Review: Adam Green & Binki Shapiro by Adam Green
Great, Based on 10 Critics
Filter - 82 Based on rating 82%%
Pulling off a “his” and “hers” duet is not as simple as it may seem. As anyone who has ever witnessed a karaoke rendition of “I Got You, Babe” can attest, a lackluster performance can easily sound cheesy and fall flat. As with any musical partnership, chemistry is essential to a vocal pairing. And on their full-length collaboration, friends Adam Green and Binki Shapiro make quite the duo.
Adam Green has been easy to peg as a complete cynic and prankster, based on his habit of setting crass and nihilistic sentiments, not to mention surrealistic riddles, inside of formalist pop songs of different styles. This time the style doesn’t lend itself to as obvious a clash with the lyrics. He’s teamed up with Binki Shapiro of Little Joy for an album of love-song duets.
If you’ve been suffering indie-twee withdrawal symptoms ever since Isobel Campbell’s final note on Hawk or the breakup of the Delgados, here’s something to cool your brow - and to prove it’s possible to take a pan-hurling breakup and set it to music from The Waltons. Adam Green & Binki Shapiro are technically a supergroup - he’s one half of Mouldy Peaches, she’s one third of Little Joy - and they’ve recorded a record of cutesy psychedellia that reaches out to anyone at romantic rock bottom. Sure, all music is lovesick but these ten tracks are laced with more schadenfreude than Aidan Moffat’s divorce proceedings.
Since his start with Moldy Peaches, Adam Green has taken the long road to respectability, slowly moving from out of tune anti-folkie to recording this thoroughly adult-oriented album for the august folk label Rounder. Here he teams with Binki Shapiro (former vocalist for Little Joy) on an album of duets that hit the sweet spot between the off-kilter weirdness of Nancy Sinatra's work with Lee Hazlewood and the sexy swagger of Serge Gainsbourg's duets with his pick of ladies. Green and Shapiro's voices blend like a nostalgic dream -- hers smooth as silky stockings, his as rumbling and dry as a desert wind --- as they sing songs of broken hearts, messed up dreams, and sticky situations.
My first ever LP was a hand-me-down copy of Sonny and Cher’s 1965 hit record Look At Us featuring their timeless classic ‘I’ve Got you Babe’. The song and album was so full of warm and fuzzy feelings that Sonny and Cher became a beacon of light defining for many the ideal happy marriage. In retrospect, we’ve all learned that Sonny and Cher’s marriage did not end in fairytale fashion as they became each other’s greatest antagonist.
Adam Green is no stranger to collaboration after having made his name as one half of The Moldy Peaches with Kimya Dawson. Since the Peaches went their separate ways, Green has developed his own style by giving us several eccentric solo efforts. This disc sees him team up with Little Joy’s Binki Shapiro. Rather than regress to Moldy Peaches-style randomness, it seems that Shapiro’s presence has resulted in a collaboration of more restrained polish.
New Musical Express (NME) - 70 Based on rating 3.5/5
Adam Green, pal of The Strokes and former Moldy Peach, has hooked up with Binki Shapiro, former collaborator with Fabrizio Moretti in the luscious Little Joy, to tread dangerous ground. The old Nancy & Lee sultry-country patch is well-worn, and steering clear of godawful She & Him tweeness takes a deft hand and just the right balance of eeriness and ease. You’d think 31-year-old New Yorker Green, who’s often strayed into try-hard ‘I shagged a giraffe, ma!’ alt-folk wackiness, would stumble.
If you didn't know otherwise, you'd swear that Moldy Peach Adam Green and Little Joy vocalist (and sometime Beck collaborator) Binki Shapiro's self-titled album of duets was a collection of covers. After touring together and exchanging a stream of texts, they released last year's Fall, a pleasant little below-the-radar, three-song EP. Things clicked, and Green and Shapiro wisely decided to develop the fortuitous outing into this full-fledged debut album.
A sad and sweet collaboration, arranged with tender loving care. Garry Mulholland 2013 A pairing of leftfield darlings, this debut collaborative album by New York’s Adam Green and LA’s Binki Shapiro sounds like a twinning of kindred wandering spirits. Shapiro is best known for her work with Beck and Latin-tinged trio Little Joy. Green, meanwhile, has made one of the most agreeably unpredictable creative volte-faces of recent times.
Let’s not start by comparing this album to the short-lived, erratically brilliant, often rubbish output of Adam Green’s previous pairing, The Moldy Peaches. Not only is this duo something completely different - no surprise, given Green’s solo output following the ‘Peaches’ split - but let’s also not ignore Binki Shapiro.Because it’s the Little Joy singer who’s the real star of the show, whether you know it yet or not. She takes centre stage on the majority of the songs, her voice sharing the tone and depth of Karen O at her more subdued.