Ida Con Snock
As loopy and sly as ever, Michael Hurley fills Ida Con Snock with the sort of skewed insight that has been his trademark for nearly a half-century. This freak-folk godfather’s music feels as comfortable as an easy chair with a few sharp springs jutting out of its cushions. Hurley’s thin but evocative voice — redolent of the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and hippie backyard jams — lends his tunes the air of time-honored balladry. Songs like “It Must Be Gelatine” and “Hog of the Foresaken” take roots-music modes and gives them an oddball bent. Backed by the folk-pop combo Ida, Hurley delivers his own whimsical versions of early rock (“Going Steady”), Celtic chestnuts (“Loch Lomond/Molly Malone”) and ‘40s jazz (“Ragg Mopp”) with easy-going panache. At times — especially in “I Stole the Right to Live” — his musings reveal an unexpected profundity. “Wildegeeses” stands out for its haunting melody and invocation of the primal hunger for freedom. Ida Con Snock is a beguiling addition to this perennial cult figure’s quirky canon.