Release Date: Feb 22, 2011
Record label: Western Vinyl Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Experimental Rock
Gary Wilson does not change, which may well be troubling for those who deal with him on a daily basis but should come as a relief to those fascinated with his sporadic adventures in recording. The ready availability of inexpensive digital recording technology means Wilson's third album, 2010's Electric Endicott, sounds noticeably more polished than his homemade debut, 1977's You Think You Really Know Me, but its soul is very much the same -- Wilson's music is still pop with something a bit wrong, especially in his jerky rhythms and oddball, overdubbed backing vocals (which suggest what George Clinton used to throw onto early Funkadelic albums after the Orange Sunshine took hold), with curious, noisy outbursts tossed into the mix here and there. And Wilson is still malignly obsessed with girls -- they're always treating him bad ("Where Did Karen Go" and "Lisa Made Me Cry"), he's mooning over the great unattainable female ("Please Don't Break My Heart Today"), or he's once again insisting he really does have a girlfriend even if there's no evidence of it ( "Secret Girl" and "Swinging with Karen Tonight").
Gary Wilson's first album, 1977's You Think You Really Know Me, hinted at a hidden world. Recorded in his parents' basement, it offered the kind of skewed take on saccharine AM pop best made by one lonely, sunlight-starved individual. The few who heard it at the time probably had the same feeling I did when I first heard Ariel Pink, a Wilson fan whose music shares similar stylistic obsessions.
Many have tried (hey, Ariel Pink), but no one's ever duplicated the mismatched fantasy world of Gary Wilson. Listening to 1977's electro-funk id explosion, You Think You Really Know Me, felt like a blind date, a 2005 documentary on the upstate New York oddity describing his music as "Steely Dan on crack." Locals Western Vinyl took on the challenge of Wilson's latest, and he returns to Endicott, as well as his favorite themes: Kathy, Karen, Lisa, and Sandy. Unlike Daniel Johnston, who usually sang about one woman, Wilson used names as placeholders in his "love" songs.