Very predictable style of lyrics that are backed up with a Husker Du instrumental style, and a vocalist that sounds like a mixture of Justin Sane, Rivers Cuomo and John Rzeznik. A form of alt-country that is nowhere near as experimental as those earliest Uncle Tupelo or Whiskeytown albums, but where it lacks in experiment it really gains in the lush recording and pop-influences. “The Town’s Old Fair” is the story of two very different elements that come together to create some strong tracks at times, but also some mild fluctuations that are fairly disserting. Focusing chunks of the disc on drinking and losing loves, Josh Lederman Y Los Diablos don’t go anywhere new lyrically, and by the mid-point of the disc, they leave you wanting something new, something different to break them from the rut they’ve found themselves in. ‘Down The Fire Escape’ is the archetypal Josh Lederman Y Los Diablos song – the sing-songy, yet dejected lyrics of Josh Lederman pretty much lie on top of the rich bluegrass/country picking style of Los Diablos.
‘The Town’s Old Fair’ has its lyrical highpoints are various time during the disc, exemplified by the stick-to-it-iveness of Josh to the sing-songy form during “Fishs Eddy”. While the rich instrumentation heard on other tracks is obscured for the most part during “Fishs Eddy”, Josh’s voice in this context can play a double role – both as just providing vocals and also as an instrument. Trying to capture a faster tempo during “On The Way Back Home”, Josh only accomplishes a uncomfortable mix between Weezer and Great Big Sea that is grating in its extreme changes of tempo. Any attempt at Irish-styled songs by Josh Lederman is doomed to fail on this disc – the sincerity and pure energy that Irish-themed bands like Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphies, even The Chieftains, is something that cannot be found in the voice of Josh, even during “The Olive Tree”.
While the alt-country lite approach to music of Los Diablos is well-intentioned, the simple fact is that there is not much on the disc to really look forward to. The songs may all be crooned out smoothly, but there are not any songs that are particularly moving – to the contrary, a mood that would foster some sort of emotional connection is dashed by some particularly vapid lyric, or by absurd words like “waffles” .
Top Tracks: Down The Fire Escape, Forty Days
Josh Lederman Y Los Diablos – The Town’s Old Fair / 16 Tracks / 2003 Nine Mile Records / http://www.coffeestainmusic.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 14 April 2004