Big Kid Now is a six track EP by San Francisco post-folk singer-songwriter Adam Balbo. It’s a varied, brisk collection of droll, lo-fi pop that refuses to take itself too seriously. The title track clatters along in a ramshackle way that is redolent of early Dylan. The drums sound like biscuit tins, but the song has a goofy charm. Balbo’s voice reminds me a bit of Robert Forster, especially on the skeletally brief “The Snakemen”.
“Monkey Goes to Breakfast” has a Booker T Jones like organ backing, as a laid back, stoned tale of a simian’s first meal of the day unfolds. “Pie or Soup” has a great pay-off line “If you can’t deliver me from evil, how about pizza?”. “Note To Self” is a fairground waltz, full of self-deprecating self-absorption. Finally, “Stain on My Shirt” proves that nothing is too mundane for a song. It’s all about a spilt ketchup stain (“shaped like the state of Missouri”), with the protagonist’s bored girlfriend providing a running commentary of caustic comments.
Remember when Beck was fun? Before scientology and lumpen white funk got in the way. Adam Balbo has that same innocent sense of wonder – a Seinfeldian grasp that songs about nothing can be as rewarding as any tackling the big themes. It’s a trait he shares with Jad Fair too.
The EP (and Balbo’s four previous albums) is available through his MySpace page (link below).
Big Kid Now 2:25
The Snakemen 1:53
Monkey Goes to Breakfast 4:40
Pie or Soup 1:49
Note to Self 3:45
Stain On My Shirt 3:40