John Maus – A Collection Of Rarities And Unreleased Material

John Maus’ A Collection Of Rarities And Unreleased Material proves a few things that were previously only suspected of the Austin-born musician. One, he doesn’t grasp the notion of quality control; and two, he’ll never get reviewed without a reference to frequent collaborator Ariel Pink. Like Pink, Maus exists in a trash-pop/performance art/parody twilight zone, burying excellent songcraft among bizarre digressions, infantile ramblings and reams of lo-fi hiss. It can be familiar, strange and thrilling all at once. Sometimes, though, it’s just strange.

ACORAUM has the same flashes of brilliance as a proper Maus release: ‘Fish With Broken Dreams’ is the missing link between medieval folksong, synth-pop and sea-shanty, and ‘I Don’t Eat Human Beings’ is a seductive slow jam that could have been lifted from the Top Gun soundtrack. Likewise, it has facepalm moments (‘The Fear’) every bit as excruciating as Love Is Real’s ‘Rights For Gays’ and its ilk. Business as usual, then.