Zwerg - Played Wits [, May 22, 2004]
Jason Baker [Internet]

Zwerg is the one-man project of Jason Betts, and "Played Wits" is actually his second album, having been preceded by "To Myopic Mutts". As you can see from the album titles alone, Zwerg is not your normal synthpop. Either he memorized the dictionary, or Jason Betts is very good at creating words, because phrases like "Darkcloud's rolene in but he's no heel of a guy" or "As my sprites paint some burpy pop" have to leave you wondering.

But once you listen closely, and move beyond the undeniably quirky nature of the lyrics, you'll find some genuinely compelling pop songs. Ordinarily, though, I'd be raking him over the coals and making barbeque for the vocals. There's a awful lot of vibrato in his vocals that's really not all that necessary. However, somehow, the occasional excessive vibrato only adds to the quirky appeal of this very unusual musician. Sure, his lyrics at times may sound 10 times more unusual than Ronnie Martin's in "We Are The Music Makers", but somehow.. that only adds to the appeal. Songs such as "From Nome To Nain", "At Thingvellia", "Inside, To You" and "Red-Feather Sunshine" all have an unusual appeal that I just can't deny. I personally really liked the version of "Just As I Am", but I understand that not everyone who reads this will find it as appealing.

All in all, I think this will appeal greatly to fans of off-beat synthpop. Those who are really loving the new Alan Replica "Clockworks, Juliet" album or I, Synthesist's album "Avalanche" will find this very appealing. It certainly won't be for all tastes, but I think you might surprise yourself at how much you enjoy it.