Signing with English indie label 4AD in the early ‘90s was probably a good move for His Name Is Alive, overall, but it did come with a decent amount of baggage (ethereal dreampop pre-Raphaelite goth ambient etc.) Warren Defever, who basically is HNIA, toyed with those aesthetics for a few years, but by Ft. Lake, the goalposts are Hendrix blow-outs, ‘60s pop, clanking Todd Rundgren-esque rock, confused psychobilly, toy-like nursery chants… and plenty more. Defever might have made better albums, but Ft. Lake is one of his wickedest sets of songs for its playfulness, its sheer too-much-of-everything-ness – from the glitched-out pop of “Don’t Glue The World” to the scorching psych-rock of “Wishing Ring,” via the nascent R&B clatter of “Spirit Needs A Spirit Tool,” with a cast of female vocalists along for the ride, Defever’s three-minute attention span is perfect for this mutant mix.

Jon Dale

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