David Duchovny, "Every Third Thought" (King Baby/GMG)
In an upcoming episode of "The X-Files," Fox Mulder gets mixed up with some paranormal forces and somehow believes he's a rock 'n' roll god. No, wait. That's not a TV show. It's apparently real life for David Duchovny.
Duchovny ditches his day job chasing aliens on television to release his 12-track sophomore effort, "Every Third Thought," an album of pretty good rock songs marred by perhaps the worst vocal performances ever captured digitally.
This album is like listening to the tired and tipsy stragglers of an office party ending up at a karaoke bar at 3 a.m. when that weird dude from accounts payable grabs the mic to live out his rock dreams in a beer-induced semi-coma.
Duchovny has a horrifically thin voice, unable to modulate, unable to show any emotion, unable to hold a note. It doesn't go up or down. It just sits there croaking like a dying frog. He hasn't improved since his debut 2015 album, "Hell or Highwater," which we gave him a pass on because, hey, everyone makes mistakes.
But the second one is a blemish on a really good band, including multi-instrumentalists Colin Lee, Pat McCusker and Mitchell Stewart - who also serve as the producers - and Sebastian Modak on drums. They deserve better. Forget the truth: a true vocalist is out there, guys.
Duchovny's lyrics seem designed to either make nerdy folks swoon with references to ancient Rome and science - "Matter decays exponentially/ Half-lives await us all eventually" - or make them wince ("I'll slap the cuffs on the hands of time" and "When it comes to bliss, I'm a communist").
In "'Mo," he has the gall to criticize our insatiable hunger for everything, from cars to love: "Everybody always wants the cream at the top/ But nobody knows when to stop." Thanks, David, it's always nice for a one-time sex addict to lecture us on conspicuous consumption.
Credit to Duchovny for co-writing all the songs, which range from the Tom Petty-ish title romp to the brassy foot-stomper "Someone Else's Girl." The band's rock chops drive "When the Whistle Blows" and "Roman Coin," but the guy in front is so bad you start to laugh.
Duchovny gets into even more serious trouble when he slows things down. The ballad "Maybe I Can't" is agonizing, like listening to an under-rehearsed third grader pushed onstage for a talent show. "Spiral" is a guitar-heavy, jammy tune horribly disfigured by one thing - Duchovny.
Is it clear yet? Dude. Can't. Sing. Make him stop.
Send in the aliens.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits