OK It’s Not OK
Reviewed by: Dan Williams
If this album were all instrumental, it would be really something. At the same time, I find the lyrics very interesting and unique. It’s the vocal delivery I struggle with, but not always. Confused?
First off, Dargel has created a solid collection of Chamber Pop tunes with many unexpected twists and turns that generally hit a pleasing mark. He takes on all elements from songwriter, producer and musician, primarily through electronic media. Each song is chock full of interesting melodies and staccato rhythms and runs. Fleshing out the Chamber Music sound are Cornelius Dufallo (violin), James Moore (guitar), Eleonore Oppenheim (bass) and Wil Smith (keyboard). While the foundation of each song is electronically generated, the analog instruments are the most attractive and welcome in the pursuit of a chamber sound.
Lyrically, OK It’s Not OK takes many unexpected turns as he comments on social and personal issues, but at times becomes a little contrived. Name checks like Twitter and Facebook on “Your Profound Self Doubt” feel a little too cute. On the other hand, the phrase that sticks with me is one from “The Opposite of Love”: “I don’t blame you for feeling shitty. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s pity.” It also seems a little forced in the written format, but seems to work when sung. Many of the themes are about depression and less cheery topics, but always delivered with upbeat, poppy instrumentals for a disarming feel.
On first listen, I enjoyed this record very much. The rub occurred during subsequent visits. Dargel’s is the only voice on the record. That’s certainly fine in many cases. He has a conversational singing style, which works for the lyrics. His voice resembles the perennial jazz vocalist Michael Franks.
The thing that finally came front and center for me after multiple spins is the repetition in his vocal cadence. The violinist and other players work hard to add variety and interest in every song, but the vocals could be interchanged between songs. I would have liked to have heard greater variety in his delivery. Individual songs coming up on shuffle would be just fine. Hearing all fourteen in one sitting becomes tedious.