The first thing that most people write about Ken Stringfellow is that he was kind of the fifth member of REM for a number of tours and two albums, but he had already made his mark by founding The Posies and reuniting Big Star. He began his career in Washington in the late 1980s before the grunge movement took over and has also made a steady living working with a miasma of alternative pop greats. The prolific vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist of power pop acts Big Star and The Posies starts off his 4th solo album with a couple of unassuming tracks that undergo a complete change in tone midway. The album really starts hitting its stride by its retro third song ‘Superwise’ and does not lose its momentum.
Each song is markedly different from the next, from the theatrical ‘Drop Your Pride’ to the avant garde ‘Oderless, Colorless, Tasteless’ making Danzig in the Moonlight thoroughly eclectic. A real highlight is ‘History Buffs’, which starts off sounding an awful lot like Neil Young’s classic ‘Old Man’ and takes full advantage of Stringfellow’s pleasant timbre and knack for combining chipper beats with thoughtful lyrics.
Stringfellow has clearly been influenced by his many partnerships in the industry as the album tries to include as many genres as possible. This abundance of styles makes for an unpredictable listen but the slight downside is its lack of focus. Stringfellow went out of his poppy comfort zone in Danzig in the Moonlight, a commendable feat for such a seasoned musician.