It's not always a great idea when novelists try their hand at pop music. But novelist Rick Moody ("The Ice Storm," "The Diviners") has pulled...

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It’s not always a great idea when novelists try their hand at pop music. But novelist Rick Moody (“The Ice Storm,” “The Diviners”) has pulled it off. He’s a singer-composer with a new trio called the Wingdale Community Singers, whose self-titled debut CD (Plain Recordings, $15.98) tricks out folksy-country tunes with decidedly urban lyrics.

Subject matter includes pawnshop fires, transvestites’ fishnet stockings, and rats (“Rat in the house, rat in the house/Smaller than a dog/But it’s bigger than a mouse”). Other tunes — “Bitter Angels,” “Indira’s Lost and Found” — are beautiful, spare, almost hymnlike, even though they’re talking about SWAT teams, duct tape and neon-lit gangs and guns in Flatbush.

Joining Moody in tuneful harmony are Hannah Marcus (whose vocals recall Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention) and instrumentalist David Grubbs. Think the soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” filtered through a Lower East Side sensibility, and you’ll have a fair notion of the Wingdale Community sound.

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times book critic

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