Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele – The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele

Along with songs about college kids, Parisian girls and alcoholism he even finds time to make a love song out of attending an academic conference (mentioning powerpoint slides along the way).

Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele – The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele

(Paw Tracks)

 

And it is good feeling music – don’t let the fact that it’s on Paw Tracks put you off. There’s none of Aerial Pink’s fuggy seventies weirdness, nor any of Animal Collective’s trippy folky dance music. Mr. May was discovered by said Collective when they were making their last album and liked what they heard. And what they heard could best be described as a cross between Jonathan Richman and The Magnetic Fields. There’s a naivety to May’s music that certainly reminds me of Richman but at the same time his polished croon suggests Stephin Merritt.

 

The songs are simple and based around the magnificent ukulele. There’s a fair degree of barbershop style backing vocals and 50s doowop. For the most part, however, this is music out of time, rather than seeking to ape a particular time.  It’s gentle and poppy and ridiculously upbeat (even if not all the song’s subjects are). It’s designed to put a smile on your face and succeeds largely in so doing.

 

Along with songs about college kids, Parisian girls and alcoholism he even finds time to make a love song out of attending an academic conference (mentioning powerpoint slides along the way). Yes, it’s twee at times (and goes too far in writing a song for Michael Chang the not-quite-good-enough tennis player) and is about as far as cool as it is possible to be, but sometimes that’s no bad thing.

 

Words: Chris Dawson