Allston Rat City, meet Allston Rock City. It’s funny– even the grimiest of Boston’s public alleys seem somewhat benign compared to their shadier counterparts in other cities. But Jim Leonard’s 3-song Poor Taste EP is a fictional diary of a nameless, seedy lurker in rodent-infested dark alleys, which sound a helluva lot like those you might find in Allston. The songs were written by Leonard’s friend, Al Marantz, to be retooled by Leonard. He advised Marantz to “to get inside of the head of a different character which in only a few words is a burnt out rock and roller sneaking through alleyways late at night.”
Leonard’s booming vocals are bolstered by a thick bass line and sometimes playful, sometimes spooky organ lines. It sets a fitting mood for the mysterious, street-hardened protagonist of Poor Taste, who boldly declares “I had a reconstructed face when I was sixteen/Because a bad reputation is a blessing” in “Reconstructed Face”. The country-twinged licks of “Wise Guy Comb” at first seem sinister before revealing a more morose side to our character. They contrast to brash tales of “pushing through these Cambridge yuppies” on the cheeky “Alison’s Bodega”. Oh, Boston.
Check out the three-song whirlwind that is Poor Taste below.