“It’s an old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll jammy jam made by a dude who knows that pop music should kick your teeth in and be out the door in three minutes or less.”
A kludge is:
“A clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem.”
“An ill assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.”
“A crock that works.”
In February of 2013, Daniel Pujol set out to write and record the follow-up to his debut album, 2012’s UNITED STATES OF BEING. Pujol and producer Doni Shroader set up shop in Mt. Juliet, TN at The Place: a suicide-prevention center for teens located in a strip mall. They used largely borrowed and donated gear, recording every day from 5pm until 6am, all the while breaking down and setting up the temporary studio every day between office hours. Mixing took place during the building of Battletapes, a two car garage that was in the midst of being converted into an acoustically treated, professional grade tracking room; building permit, construction workers, and all. Following four months of vampiric living and working around conflicting schedules/eccentricities (the band, the engineers, the sun), Daniel, Doni, and Battletapes had finished the album they had been working towards. Recording and mixing happened in a “non-location” where things were being built or set up, in order to work on the album, working around the obstacles the location presented.
In short: Puj kludged KLUDGE.
KLUDGE idiosyncratically captures life as it exists in our weird almost future world of flying robots, cancer from food, cell phone wire taps, metadata, $7.25ish minimum wage and $15.50 an hour endless choice buffets. Yet, the album possesses that inherent sense of timelessness that exists in all great music. Thanks to its combination of addictively fetching rock ‘n’ roll and Daniel Pujol’s lyrical brilliance. The end result is more Malkmus than MacGyver, and proves yet again that Daniel Pujol is, first and foremost, a songwriter.
Examining well-worn subjects like love, death, authenticity, identity, alienation and society, Pujol applies a filter completely his own and brings these ideas to a place they’ve never existed before. His words examine the world with his signature brand of skepticism, humor, idealism, and an unmistakable earnestness and sincerity. Lead single “Circles” perfectly illustrates this with lines like “Show me that your sacred heart’s the human kindness kind / Show me more than 3D printers drawing skulls and knives / Show me more than kleptocratic demagogue control / Show me that you ain’t a lizard, show you’ve got a soul.”
PUJOL delivers a sophomore record that pushes the intellectual boundaries of songwriting, while at the same time creating a superb, audacious punk rock record filled with moments of delicate beauty. To do just one of these things is rare, but to do all of that is a true feat… or just a crock that works.