FOR THE UNINITIATED, MR Froom is a major league producer aching to showcase his own idiosyncratic muso tendencies. It seems that, recording for the likes of Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney, he couldn’t satisfy his artistic temperament from the other side of the glass divide.
So, in-between other people’s sessions, Froom assembled his own tribe of sympathetically competent plinkers and parpers, orchestrated a bunch of Euro-jazzbeat cinematic experimental shit, played a few notes on his collection of obscure keyboards, and nailed down vocals from his famous chums on each song. The result is this oddly beguiling LP.
The casting says it all: Mark Eitzel, Ron Sexsmith, Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto, Sheryl Crow and Froom’s wife, Suzanne Vega. Each hand-picked to complement his darkly humorous interpretations of old and new music. Not to mention ‘Permanent Midnight’, which takes its name from Jerry Stahl’s memoirs on his Hollywood-and-heroin hell and features the man himself making deranged utterances over a cranky trad-jazz workout.
What a relief. Things could have been so much worse from a man who has to listen to Crowded House and Sir Paul for a living. Thankfully, Mitchell Froom’s muse is on another planet. Which means, for your part, you must leave all preconceptions at the rocket hatch and prepare to re-educate your taste buds.