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Thursday April 24, 2014
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Mister Laurence

 

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are the escapist by-product of grim times or just express a simple longing for the long ago I can't really say, but I suspect they'd be one of several demographics who'd snap up Mister Laurence's new CD, Pure Gibberish, and spin it senseless.

After having released a massive oeuvre as rock musician, performance artist, dad, and other titles too abstract to describe, Ann Arbor-based musician Laurence Miller has found surprising success writing and performing music for kids. I caught his act quite by chance at Nicola's Books a number of years ago and wrote about it for the Observer. Since then he's been a busy boy, releasing several CDs, performing all over southeast Michigan, and writing song after song.

The music of Mister Laurence is dark and strange and ignores all rules of children's music — such as simplicity, repetition, not too many big words. If they didn't know his songs were intended for kids, some neopunk band might cover them.

The album kicks off with a rollicking welcome by the man in charge, who sounds like a blend of addled great-uncle, psycholinguist, and general goofball. The title song is a complex ditty filled with instructions for talking nonsense, filled with unexpected chords, that signature Mister Laurence art house dissonance, bells, whistles, and synth weirdness. Kids will either adore it or listen to it gape-mouthed.

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