File next to: Martin Newell, The Orange Peels, Fountains of Wayne
With output that makes Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard look like Boston’s Tom Scholz, lo-fi hero R. Stevie Moore knows how to write indelibly catchy songs. But he often doesn’t: on his 400-plus albums, Moore’s decidedly skewed pop often wraps accessible melodies inside ultra-quirky, left-field arrangements. Multi-instrumentalist power pop legend (and hired gun for Air, Jellyfish and Beck) Jason Falkner can create transcendent, rocking pop seemingly at will. The seemingly unlikely pairing of these two *auteurs has resulted in Make it Be, an 18-cut album that brings out the very best in both musicians. Here, Falkner’s predilection for ambitious arrangements is subdued in favor of a brilliantly straightforward approach, and he helps songwriter Moore limit his tendency toward defiant weirdness to the lyrics and song titles (“I H8 PPL,” for example). Make it Be is a high point in the catalogs of both artists.