Kludge, the follow-up to Nashville based PUJOL’s 2012 debut UNITED STATES OF BEING, continues the journey of self-discovery juxtaposed with an imaginative, uncertain future involving lizards and cyborgs along with a questionable present reality. The influence of punk and garage rock is definitely there, but it is the traces of pop and folky blues, interwoven with Daniel Pujol’s seemingly lighthearted yet heavy lyrics that make Kludge—“a crock that works.”
Pujol innovatively plays with the familiar tropes of authenticity, love, death, and loneliness in Kludge. And right from the first track, the frankness of “Judas Booth” sets the tone of the album, which sounds like PUJOL's twist on doo-wop and the girl group music of the 60s. “Pitch Black” is a very catchy song highlighting the dark jangly pop feel of the album and Pujol’s songwriting skills as he sings “Well, there’s only one place on the planet left where its OK to turn off your phone/ and the functional rationale for being there is to slip into a fictitious zone/ Well I’m living in a very public world but I was born feeling naked to the bone.” You can listen here:
Another standout track is “Spooky Scary,” which brings to mind Bob Dylan’s cynically poetic blues-based, Highway 61 Revisited. Like Dylan, PUJOL portrays a blunt outlook of contemporary society that makes us pause and ponder on it. In all, I enjoyed the playful grittiness of PUJOL on their sophomore effort Kludge. It’s available May 19th on the Saddle Creek label.