Freak chart-topper proves he's no one-trick pony

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Gary Jules – Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets

By now you may be heartily weary of “Mad World”, the Tears For Fears cover sung by Gary Jules and lifted from the Donnie Darko soundtrack for a surprise Christmas Number One. But channel that weariness into relating to this: Jules is a Los Angeles singer-songwriter who merits the exposure, and his second album is gorgeously warm, forlorn and wounded.

Imagine Simon & Garfunkel’s “Kathy’s Song” or “America” refracted through a haze of smog and daydreams and you come close to the feel of this record. Moody as all hell, Jules growls Stipe-ishly with impeccable defeatist understatement, his lyrical technique bafflingly abstract and deeply emotive.

Yes, they’ve tagged “Mad World” onto the end, but tracks like “No Poetry” and “Something Else” are intangibly blue, elusive, bewildered but knowing: Nilsson or Art doing Jimmy Webb.

He’ll give you pale shelter.