Brian Wright, “Lapse of Luxury” (Cafe Rooster Records)
An inventory of the backyard shed where Brian Wright recorded his latest album might find at least one of everything.
“Lapse of Luxury” features bells and whistles and even a song titled “Bells & Whistles.” Wright spent three years making the record at his home in Nashville, played most of the parts and ended up with a rock album that doesn’t rock much.
But it’s a wild, entertaining ride, quirky and whimsical, tuneful and hooky. There are samples and sound effects, backing vocals that swoop in and out, spoken bits and naughty bits as Wright draws on antecedents older than he is. To underscore his fondness for the psychedelic ’60s, he drops the word acid more than once.
Variety is a constant, as are a strong rhythmic foundation and the nonconformist characters in his songs. Wright sings about a fear of heights on the stomper “High Rise,” which closes with a descending synthesizer as a punch line. The tipsy country gospel of “Tractor Beam” somehow fits with the hazy horn-fed R&B of “Bells & Whistles” and the Lennon-esque singalong “You Can’t Win a War Without Love.”
Deadheads will love it, as will Beckheads.