Release Date: Oct 14, 2016
Record label: ATO
Genre(s): Alt-Country, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country-Rock
The line between eerie mysteriousness and downright silliness is compellingly blurred on Sweet Creep, the new LP by beloved alt-country scoundrel Jonny Fritz. Case in point: "I Love Leaving," on which Fritz sings: "Classical music is so clarinet-y, I love meatballs but don't like spaghetti" over jolly yet bluesy guitar strums and a fiddle that sounds like it's groaning at his corny jokes. Meanwhile, the aptly titled closing track "Chihuahua Rescue" — Fritz released two earlier albums under the alias Jonny Corndawg — is a goofily titled tune with equally silly lyrics that essentially amount to a list of canine varieties, all sung and performed in a tone more forlorn than a pup howling at the moon.
Jonny Fritz clearly loves country music, but he would rather mess around with it than play it straight. And while he's stopped calling himself Jonny Corndawg (the sort of stage name Robbie Fulks was probably imagining when he wrote "Roots Rock Weirdoes"), Fritz still seems determined to wave his freak flag, playing his eccentricities for all they're worth. Fritz's fourth album (and second under his own name), 2016's Sweet Creep, is clearly the work of a guy who want to go out of his way to show you how off the wall he is; the arrangements are frequently off-kilter, pieced together from drum samples, outdated synthesizer patches, and the bellow of cheap guitars, and one would guess the album was recorded in someone's bathroom if Fritz didn't reveal in the liner notes that most of it was actually cut in someone's backyard.