Wonky is a term that is increasingly used to describe music these days. Usually it’s referring to a peculiar brand of electronic music that comes across as a positively tame kind of wonky when compared to the wonk that is on display here. The soulful crooning vocals are fuzzed out until they’re almost indecipherable, fluttering over music that’s horribly skewed, some kind of languid inebriated exotica, cowboy jazz or kitchen sink drug music that when conceived may have been a trashy kind of pop, but is now far out on the ledge. It’s the kind of outsider music you warn children to stay away from because though you may not understand entirely what is happening exactly it’s pretty easy to tell it’s wrong.
At times it feels vulnerable like Sparklehorse being listened to slightly off the radio station and wrapped in multiple layers of cotton wool, at others thanks to the marimba work it’s hard not to be reminded of an Arthur Lyman who instead of playing to Hawaiian hotel guests has been booked to play an old persons home for smack addicts – and then been trapped in there and medicated for a year and a half. BJ Morriszonkle is all that and also a one-man band from Melbourne.
Simultaneously demented and a little bit silly, the lo fi zaniness can be a little wearing, the tunes threatening to be engulfed by impenetrable weirdness. But then something strange and beautiful happens. All the oddly pitched instruments, demented fragments of sound, and multiple tracked slightly wrong vocals coalesce and what was insane and stupid a few seconds ago stretches out a little, and suddenly feels imbued with sadness and struggle, becoming strangely poignant, and at times dare I say transcendent.