Monday, December 5, 2011
Terry Ohms Wonders What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean?
Terry Ohms is a confusing artist. You see, Terry Ohms is actually Wes McDonald, who happens to be the front man of Vulture Whale. Confused? I don't know who I'm listening to either; just some guy out of some band who may or may not be real and who has an album called What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? One thing I do know for sure is that I'm not exactly how I feel about this record. Gah! This whole thing is nothing but confusion and head scratching and I'm not sure what to make of any of it.
What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? at times is a fantastic pop record that sounds like a drunk Elvis Costello hanging out with a young Bobby Gillepsie, but at others the record is so cliche and tired that it almost makes you cringe. Good or bad, there are moments throughout Terry Ohms' record where the lyrics are so band they are utterly hilarious and in fact, it seems much of What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? is recorded so tongue in cheek it might very well be a comedy record. With a song like, "(We Made Love) All Night," referencing Barry White and making him proud, you can kind of see how silly this record can actually be. A bit silly, a bit cliche, a bit boring and thankfully a bit good, Terry Ohms (or whomever) sort of muddles his way through What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? just enough to keep it interesting. Taking bits and bobs of power pop and smashing them together with some sort of folk jam band hybrid Terry Ohms should have made a really, really, bad record. Thankfully, he never quite falls off of the edge and manages to redeem himself with some rather witty and charming tunes; see, "Sade," for example.
Ohms is clearly at his best when he drops the jam band folk implosion junk and tries his barely sober best to rock out. What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? is listenable because of these moments and whether it's, "Alone At Last," or "Hey Kid," there's enough humor and cheesiness to make it all entertaining. I'm not really sure I like What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? as an album. I think if I could take the four or five songs I really like and make this record an EP, we'd be talking something pretty good. But, as it stands I don't find What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean? completely enthralling; instead it's something that's best handled by skipping around the disc. Not horrible nor fantastic, Terry Ohms, or Wes McDonald, or whatever this slightly confused individual wishes to be called shouldn't under any circumstances quit his day job with his other band Vulture Whale.