If you've never heard the Sleepy Jackson before, your initial reaction is likely to be a long, slow shake of the head while wondering, "What the hell is this?"
This is because the band' Luke Steele and a circus of supporting musicians' sounds like a collaboration between Brian Wilson and ABBA or a young Elton John fronting Mercury Rev. Indeed, "Personality" is a very lush, very bizarre affair. Strings swell and angelic voices descend while Steele's glam croon fidgets and poses. The whole affair is equally pleasing and disturbing, but it's definitely original, despite its sometimes obvious influences.
Luckily, Steele's eccentricity is rooted in harmony and melody, making this collection a rewarding challenge. Like Mercury Rev's classic "Deserter's Songs," "Personality" is a strange little gem. At one point, Steele complains: "Witches in my swimming pool / Devils are in my brother's room "¦" Uh, yeah, man. If you've ever wondered what disco sounds like on acid, here you go.
- Michael Franco