January 25, 1999 12:00 PM

David Olney (Philo)

This neofolk album of morbid, pretentious songs suggests the kind of drivel Lisa Kudrow screeches on Friends for laughs. So much for its content. As for its sound, in his toneless droning of such tunes as “The Suicide Kid” or “Little Bit of Poison,” Olney probably resembles Leonard Cohen most closely (although Cohen has a strong sense of melody while Olney, a Rhode Island native now based in Nashville, seems to have a good ear only for dirges). Like his principal influence, the late Townes Van Zandt, Olney worries little about commercial success. Just as well.

Bottom Line: Grim going

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