A (slightly) miserably depiction of life without sunshine or youth, Howe Gelb throws up his career as an indie rocker in his latest album, Future Standards, preferring to take on the persona of lazy-millionaire-hiding-in-the-corner-of-the-club.
“Love is a simple thing,” he sings, a premise for the album’s motives; for the album, itself, is a simple thing. Deep bass, Gelb’s casual voice, and a strong reliance on piano bring a soft jazz mood to the album, which could be mistaken as elevator music, if one were to overlook the notion of sultriness behind the casual air. The album opens with “Terribly So,” featuring singer Lonna Kelley, who lightens the mood with her delicate, feminine voice. The songs are mainly sang by Gelb, however, who, granted, also wrote and produced them all.
At times, it seems as if Gelb is singing to himself; as though he is that elder man at the bar, listening to this jazzy background music play softly, as he lifts his cigar to his mouth, and sets down his drink. Perhaps, Gelb meant to remind others- of love, sorrow, and in the end, age. His tone is casual, yet final, a synopsis of his life thus far, presented as a mumble of short recollections and advice.
Nevertheless, the simplicity of Gelb’s latest album, Future Standards, was certainly not easily managed; to establish such a consistent mood is boring, if nothing less. Of course, his talent in songwriting and creativity should not be forsaken. The album is a token of Gelb’s life so far, and meant to be regarded as is; or, not at all.