Indiana’s Jim Skafish is one of the oddest eggs ever to wander into the shopping mall of rock music. Visually androgynous and, well, unattractive, Skafish builds his songs on neurotic angles of romance, suicide and growing up different that are most pessimistic. Yet, by couching them in sprightly tunes delivered with great geniality, he creates an unnerving dynamic. His band is skilled and supple; his first album, despite all its personality flaws, is clear and fascinating rather than grim or depressing.
Skafish lunges off in a different direction on the disappointing Conversation, which starts with “Secret Lover,” a mundane disco track notable only for his voice’s jarring unsuitability to the genre. With the exception of two loud rockers and a few blandouts, the rest of the record follows stylistic suit. Worse, the lyrics aren’t even very interesting.