Beguiling, quirky with aspirations for more mainstream consumption, the varied sonic palette of Igor Keller and his solo project Longboat draws on an array of genres and conjures numerous adjectives. Just don’t call it “eclectic.” In fact, he’d prefer that you refer to it as un-pop. As Keller states in his bio, “I characterize the band like this: it’s eclectic pop music for people who dislike eclectic pop music and all of its annoying preciousness – from a band that hates being labeled eclectic pop. I’m hoping to carve out a new genre based on the album’s title: un-pop. And God willing, it will someday replace the hated term ‘eclectic pop’.”
So, what is this un-pop anyway? Well, Unpopular Songs For Unpopular People may be just that: an amalgamation of the best of outsider pop influences, channeled through Keller’s own idiosyncratic worldview and experiences. One can hear the strains of Jonathan Richman in Keller’s cool, detached vocal delivery, while the blip/glitch pop aesthetic recalls the quirky catchiness of They Might Be Giants. Produced, arranged and written exclusively by Keller, his third official album under the Longboat moniker is essentially an intriguing journey through his psyche. According to Keller, his songs’ subjects run the gamut from “disastrous revolutions to drinking with smart people to regicide to miraculous scientific hardware to rabid girlfriends to life and death. You know, the usual.”
The musical arrangements of Unpopular Songs clearly stem from Keller’s training as a tenor sax man. There’s a hard bop cool that runs throughout the album, and Keller’s vocals and unique storytelling are delivered in scat staccato, reminiscent of a jazz-house poetry session.
Unpopular Songs For Unpopular People, available now, follows on the heels of 2011’s Greater Seattle and Instant Classics from 2012.