Anthony Worden and the Illiterati w/ Purple Frank
Gabe’s — Dec. 6 at 9:30 p.m., $8
From the opening shot of a vintage Webcor cassette recorder, you know that vintage is the vibe Anthony Worden is going for in the video for “The Slightest Notion.” But the song itself is situated squarely in a tradition that harks back to the Kinks and Elvis Costello, while staying contemporary and fresh.
From an initial rave up, the song shifts gears to a lovely, slow interlude replete with lush vocal harmonies. “The Slightest Notion” signifies Worden finding a sunnier, poppier style, as he steps away from the Velvet Underground-influenced sound of his earlier work. Elly Hofmaier (Penny Peach Jr.) adds her sweet soprano to the mix, making the song verge on the giddy, in a good way.
Worden has always found fresh takes on classic sounds, but “The Slightest Notion” has a brit-pop weightlessness that he only hinted at on his last album, Slouching Towards Tomorrow (2018). He sings at the top of his range, with a lighter tone, and even a ghost of a British accent, possibly a nod to the Kinks’ Ray Davies. This is an interesting evolution from his earlier work, in which he adopted some of Lou Reed’s vocal tics (though he’s always been more tuneful than Reed).
Patrick O’Connor shot and edited the video, giving it an elegant sheen on a limited budget. Location shots at Iowa City’s Hickory Hill Park and the University of Iowa’s Natural History Museum are combined with vintage touches like stop action and split screen shots.
The video is a giddy, cheerful artifact on it’s own, but it’s also a good preview of the upcoming album Voilá, out Valentine’s Day 2020.