Audio Mixer: Alex Kahn.
Recording information: CHP Audio; Frisbie, NYC; The Green Room.
The front cover for Benji Hughes' Merge debut features an oil painting-rendered photo of the hirsute, North Carolina-based pop purveyor sporting aviator sunglasses and vampire teeth. However, what lies inside is not the swampy, True Blood-inspired cacophony of sultry, Southern gothic twang that Songs in the Key of Animals' misanthropic cover art would suggest, but a breezy amalgamation of girl-crazed blue-eyed soul and Chateau Marmont bungalow pop that falls somewhere between Beck, OutKast, and Harry Nilsson. "People are Animals," says Hughes in the album's press release, and he takes that notion quite literally on the two-disc, 11-track LP, applying his well-honed production skills and goofy sense of humor (this is the man who helped write the brilliant "Let's Duet" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) to a set of left-field pop confections with titles like "Shark Attack!!!!!!!!!!," "Zebra," and "Peacockin' Party." ~ James Christopher Monger