CONNY OCHS – ‘Black Happy’

connyochsCONNY OCHS – ‘Black Happy’
I suppose the final task of any singer/songwriter, when compiling a collection, is to determine when the songs are ready to be shared.  Are they worth recording? Can they be improved?  Is this the artist’s finest, clearest statement? There are certainly classic cases of icons sitting on their work for too long and losing creative momentum because of it. On the other hand we have workaholics who release every murmur and utterance they can commit to . . . megabyte, I guess we’d say now.  Is anything half-baked deserving of a listener’s attention?  That is the question that occurs to me again and again as I listen to Conny Ochs new solo venture Black Happy.  Songs built around chord structures and melodies as common as Ikea bookshelves and recorded in a fashion that aims for stripped down and raw while achieving neither, strikes me as early demo stage, not final album.  Despite the premature delivery, the record is not without its charms.  ‘Stable Chao’s and ‘Die In Your Arms’ find Ochs stepping out of his troubled artist role and letting loose some actual songs.  The damaged fringe-dweller, the dark hero, the tortured poet – these are stock characters.  They are overused and ineffective because of it.  If you’re going to don the mantle you’d better do something interesting with it.  In an age where depression and anti-conformity are banners that represent the majority and not the minority is it not just lazy and crass to mine them for expression?  It doesn’t please me to dump on this dude.  He’s out there, doing it and that what really matters, but should we care?  Conny Ochs clearly has the ability to create empathetic, resonant music but he mires it in tunelessness and juvenile confession.  (4)
MATT CROOKER

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