Execute American Folklore
To try to categorise Johnny Dowd Ithaca, New York’s legendary, idiosyncratic genius is like trying to hold back a hurricane with a windbreak. It’s just not possible or indeed beneficial. To do so would be foolhardy, to say the least. Yet, far from trying to alienate an audience, or indeed create his own chin-stroking niche, for his tenth album, Execute American Folklore, Dowd has arguably delivered his most accessible yet. As he says himself, ‘I thought every record I made, with the exception of Wrong Side of Memphis, would be my ticket into mainstream acceptance and big record sales. The fact that I have been wrong each time doesn’t discourage me.’ From the opening bars of ‘Unease And Deviance’ to the final, sing-along joviality of ‘A World Without Me’ (a duet with the fabulous Anna Coogan who floats through the album with unrestrained glee), it’s clear that Johnny has had a great deal of fun making this record. Held together with pulsating rhythms and drive beatbox and synths pumping out mercurial beats whilst Dowd’s unmistakable tones pierce the songs like a maniacal cheerleader for the masses Dowd charts a territory bordered by futuristic funk on one side and exploratory electronica on the other. Dowd’s aural playground is a place for everyone to gorge themselves on the fine fruits of a master aural manipulator at play. ‘Execute American Folklore’ not only pushes the envelope one step further for a musician who tore up the rule book years ago, it reaffirms Dowd’s place as one of America’s creative ambassadors of invention, mirth, and sonic wonderment. Hell, this is even a Dowd record you can dance to!