Feeling low? Then it's high time to wander into the dimly lit corner of the record store where you'll find Mark Eitzel's new album. Sad-man troubadours such as Eitzel (formerly of the American Music Club) have carved out a minigenre of folk for themselves and people who, like them, have not been ingesting Prozac.
Eitzel's approach is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen's. Never mind the title of the album, Eitzel eschews black humor and dazzling arrangements in favor of aching, lyrical humanity and bare-bones musical accompaniment. Imagine a hangdog friend on amphetamines and you've caught the spirit of Eitzel's vision, where brief, apocalyptic fervor replaces chronic gloom. If occasionally maudlin, Eitzel redeems himself with piercing lyrics that are his specialty. In these moments, his intelligent, world-weary voice expresses the exquisite pain of feeling reality.