DANIEL JOHNSTON Fear Yourself (Gammon) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Pop song savant Daniel Johnston has a knack for setting his sometimes bizarre yet strangely poignant lyrical confessions to memorable melodies, but his refusal to adhere to the conventions of structure and time make recording with other musicians challenging. That's why his finest work's been solo, in spite of the demo quality of his home recordings. At least until now. In Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, who acts as musical director on Fear Yourself, Johnston has finally found a sympathetic musical conspirator who appreciates the delightful eccentricities that make his creations special. Linkous also has serious studio smarts and a flair for tasteful arrangements. So we finally get the naive beauty of Johnston's unique voice in a worthy sonic setting, making Fear Yourself a high point of his recording career.
Don't miss Daniel Johnston with Portastatic, opening for Yo La Tengo at the Phoenix Monday (April 14).