Electric Endicott Gary Wilson
When Gary Wilson finally got to follow up his 1977 album You Think You Really Know Me with 2004’s Mary Had Brown Hair, he stuck with the collision of funk, noise, and teenage-freakout theatrics that made him a word-of-mouth idol in the first place. That’s still true on Electric Endicott (named for Wilson’s upstate New York hometown), though it clears up some of Mary’s distracting chintz with fuller arrangements, sax, and some piano. The older Wilson sings more smoothly and uses his avant-garde transitional tracks for swanky melody (“Kathy Kissed Me Last Night”) as well as skronk-collage (“I Cry For Linda”), but he’s bringing that new confidence to the sounds and girls of his nervous, self-torturing fantasies. On the dopey sing-along jaunt “Where Are The Flowers” and “Swinging With Karen Tonight,” the playing and arranging still partially live up to the “Steely Dan on crack” description from the documentary You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story. It’s hard not to wonder what a guy this capable and imaginative could find if he moved outside of his warped adolescent daydreams. Then again, he still finds plenty of room for exploration and playfulness, as demonstrated on “Where Did My Duck Go?” Look at it this way: People have had 33 years to hear Wilson wriggle madly into being, and here, he sounds comfortable in the skin he stitched together for himself.