The album art for Canned, the new full-length from Davey Jones’ Lost Boy ?, finds the most iconic pop art symbol, the Campbell’s soup can, a little rough around the edges and inhabited by some sort of question mark-eyed hermit crab. It’s like Andy Warhol’s consumerism commentary went through a game of kick the can down a cartoon street in Brooklyn. The music similarly scuffs up pop in a familiar way, fraying the edges of some summery indie rock.
On the strength of a few ultra-magnetic hooks and Jones’ eccentric vocals, Canned burns with a subtle precision. Opener “Hollywood” is a laser-guided jam, its stop-and-start guitar riffs and nasal chorus making for an impressive earworm. After opening with an acoustic counterpoint to all the fuzz, the sweet “Bank” takes on some more vocal tics (“We were hanging out in the Cadillac-ac-ac-ac”) and massive chords in its story of a heist. “About the Future” sways in a way destined to leak out of open apartment windows on sunny afternoons.
Jones, also a guitarist for New York rockers Baked, has honed the Lost Boy ? formula over the past few years, driving the project on his own. It’s a strange choice, then, to have Bueno frontman Luke Chiaruttini take over the vocals on the album’s last two tracks. The indie rock formula can be a little too familiar at times — ’90s echoes are scattered throughout — and that’s especially clear when you replace Jones with a more straightforward vocalist. Chiaruttini’s acidic talk-singing on “Fuck This Century” rings similarly to Parquet Courts and their own ’90s nostalgia, a shade over the originality line that Jones’ high-pitched, slippery voice manages to toe.
But even the most nostalgia-driven, overly familiar music can succeed if the writing’s strong enough. And though portions of the album blend into each other in fuzzy constancy, Canned succeeds in that end. Jones’ voice, literally and figuratively, is one to watch, and ought to continue to explore its own eccentricities rather than blend in.
Essential Tracks: “Hollywood”, “Bank”