Sixes & Sevens (Rough Trade)
Thanks to the inclusion of a Moldy Peaches song in the movie Juno, the New York City antifolk group that disbanded four years ago has become a YouTube phenomenon. Inspired by the duet of “Anyone Else But You” performed by leads Michael Cera and Ellen Page, thousands of teens have posted their own versions of the lo-fi act’s song on the video-sharing Web site.
All of which bodes well for Sixes & Sevens, the fifth solo album from Peaches cofounder Adam Green. Easily his slickest effort yet, the disc dresses up the songwriter’s oily baritone, impish melodies, and smug lyrics with horns, gospel backups, jew’s-harp, sitar, and whatever else might have been lying around the recording studio. The trouble is, these extra touches mostly make the songs sound even more like the jokes and/or gratuitous genre forays they already are. Among the worst offenders are “Getting Led”, a protest song made even less convincing with gospel singing; “Tropical Island”, a paper-thin venture into Jimmy Buffett territory; and “Be My Man”, a Lou Reed homage that simply highlights Green’s rather high level of self-satisfaction. At its worst, Sixes & Sevens doles out rhymes that shouldn’t have escaped the restaurant napkins on which they probably began.
But when it’s good, Sixes & Sevens makes a case for Green having the makings of a modern-day soul man, with “Morning After Midnight” offering a horn-filled blast of Hammond-driven soul-pop. On “Bed of Prayer”, a blue-eyed ballad near the end of the disc, Green almost achieves that which often seems beyond his reach: a degree of sincerity.