Heavy Comforter 5 Joey and the Rapid Dogs! LP

Like the Fernando Pessoa of bedroom fuzz-pop, William Johnson (FUTURE VIRGINS, BIG KITTY, and more) has created a full band of alter egos to bring us Joey and the Rapid Dogs! Like the aforementioned Portuguese poet, who wrote under 30-plus “personas” all with full backstories and signature styles around the turn of the previous century, Johnson credits a full roster of musicians who simply don’t exist. It’s an interesting exercise that lends itself to the character exploration of Joey, the core of this shambolic “rock opera.” The songs have a grandiosity to them, in bold declarative jams like “Talkin’ Bout Mental Health,” that is tempered by the use of a drum machine throughout. It’s reminiscent of TOM GRRRL, JACK NAME, or even a much less silly GENE DEFCON. The songs are homemade but tightly constructed and delivered with a sort of detached vocal style. The whole affair is clearly a labor of love, but is performed with a couldn’t-care-less attitude, lending another layer of strangeness. The results aren’t always compelling, which feels somewhat inevitable stretched across sixteen tracks, but there is plenty here to stick around for. Looking forward to Johnson getting the “band” back together for more.