Art Feynman — the recording alias of visual artist and producer Luke Temple — presents his new single, “Desperately Free,” from his forthcoming album, Be Good The Crazy Boys, out November 10th on Western Vinyl. Following lead single “All I Can Do,” “Desperately Free” keeps the grooves going, propelled by tropical-inflected percussion and infectious chants. “Something changed while I was sleeping,” the backing vocalists interject between Temple’s murmured incantations, “Somehow I feel different // as I go about my day.” Of “Desperately Free,” Temple adds: “I was thinking about the obsession with spiritual growth or with ‘curing’ death and the compensatory consequences that ensue as a result. We can’t cheat nature of which we are one and the same, she’ll find balance eventually.”
Until now, Art Feynman has strictly been a solo act, a way for Temple to explore surprising sonic landscapes without the burdens of identity. Be Good The Crazy Boys was recorded live in-studio with a full band. The result captures a spirit of restless anxiety, and recalls the most frenetic work by Talking Heads, or Oingo Boingo at their darkest. “Sonically, I was inspired by records that were recorded at the late Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas such as Grace Jones’ ‘Private Life,’ Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s Mambo Nassau, and Talking Heads’ Remain in Light.” Despite these callbacks, Be Good The Crazy Boys remains firmly rooted in modern concerns, with songs about fearing the end of the world and struggling with FOMO — narratives that would be relatable if they didn’t sound so completely unhinged.
Slightly twisted takes on Kosmische musik, worldbeat, and art pop can be found scattered across the Art Feynman discography, but with Be Good The Crazy Boys, Temple fully immerses himself into pools of collective madness. With Be Good The Crazy Boys, Art Feynman proves to be more than just a character. He represents the part of the modern, collective consciousness that’s struggling to maintain balance in a toxic, chaotic world. In less skilled hands, that concept could result in a very somber listen. Fortunately, when Art Feynman gets his hands on the chaos of the modern age, it simply makes you want to dance.
Temple explains, “To me, there was a lot of energy that needed to be released as the result of living in isolation for six years. It also seems to speak to a general anxiety we’re all holding, but it’s expressed in a cathartic way.” It’s this acknowledgment of general anxiety that separates Feynman from the other fictional personas that have been cropping up in the music world lately. Feynman doesn’t sound suave, confident, or even heartbroken in these songs; it sounds like he’s on the verge of a panic attack.
Photo Courtesy: Aubrey Trinnaman