Record Review - 2 July 25 2001

A shy lovably geeky pop music obsessive, Ron Fountenberry, aka Incredible Moses Leroy (his great-grandfather's name; the incredible comes from his appreciation of comic book superheroes), has constructed the kind of album any shy lovably geeky pop music obsessive would, if given the chance. Brimming with gleefully quirky tunes alternating with darker synth interludes, Electric Pocket Radio sounds like homemade tapes Fountenberry produced in his spare time after a tough day of substitute teaching.

While that doesn't necessarily make for lofty art, there's a charmingly eccentric eclecticism to Leroy as he merrily ping-pongs between Miles Davis-styled jazz-fusion ("Tomato Soup"), New Order '80s art-techno ("1983"), McCartney-ish '30s vaudeville ("Don't Say to Me It's Over") and plain old hooky pop ("My Best Friend"), with the exuberance of a kid let loose in a music store. Leroy articulates the sound in his mind primarily through cheesy keyboards, theremin and something simply called a "fun machine." Add an obscure new wave cover of Gruppo Sportivo's "Beep Beep Love" along with some loungy schlock and you've got a hopelessly diverse mess that works in spite — or because of — its "hey Ma, look at me" limitations.

That blithe exuberance keeps listeners engrossed in Leroy's unabashedly disposable basement pop. Sure, he's too self-consciously clever for his own good, but like most of us, he just wants to be loved.

The Incredible Moses Leroy plays Smith's Olde Bar Sat., July 28.??