Former Beulah frontman still a little weird, wonderful
Miles Kurosky’s old band, Beulah, was always the one Elephant 6 act somewhat tethered to the earth—writing and delivering relatively straightforward love songs, even as its more mind-expanded peers sang dreamily of kings of carrot flowers and birds with candy-bar heads. The Desert of Shallow Effects is Kurosky’s first solo effort since dissolving Beulah five years ago, and, happily, his singular gift for melody-rich pop hasn’t deserted him.
The result is an album brimming with stories of slightly off-kilter characters—such as the n’er-do-well protagonist of “Dead Language Blues,” whose mother calls him “all the time” to see if he’s still “failing
tempted each day by European ways, speed freaks and strays”—and driven by a classicist’s nose for hooks. Other key tracks, like the loping “She Was My Dresden” (and its sterling “please send me to the moon” coda), resemble a younger, more urbane Jeff Tweedy, mixing up folk sensibilities and kitchen-sink instrumentation as if these odd juxtapositions were always meant to be heard in such close proximity.