Depending on how you track Tim Cohen’s prolific songwriting, Luck Man is either his first solo record or his fourth. This is a testament to the number of monikers that Cohen has used over the years to release the range of psych-inflected pop that has made him one of the pillars of San Francisco’s musical community. In an attempt to describe Cohen’s productivity, Pitchfork draws a comparison between the Fresh and Onlys frontman and Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices:
Both are hugely prolific, fiercely independent rock ’n’ roll lifers—bedroom auteurs with a taste for tape hiss and eccentric pop songs.” Whether or not you agree with the comparison, Pitchfork has it right that Cohen is both “fiercely independent” and makes great pop songs that are hard to describe, which often earns them the description “eccentric.
Luck Man’s songs are quieter than Cohen’s work with The Fresh and Onlys or Magic Trick, with the kind of humorous wise-man quality that Cohen does so well. “Cohen is an expert at pairing genuine longing with absurdist humor, such that you can’t entirely tell the difference between the two,” the Pitchfork review goes on to say, such that “in the end, Luck Man shows us how we can survive life’s countless indignities.”
All in all, it makes sense that Cohen has described his songwriting process as a kind of channeling of sage moments—describing his work on the record, Cohen has said:
I like to think I’m leaving bits of wisdom behind, but I don’t possess the wisdom for longer than it takes to make a song. I inherit it momentarily, write it down, attach a melody that fits the words in rhythm, and then record it.
Luck Man comes out via Sinderlyn on January 20. Listen to the album’s songs “John Hughes” and “Meat is Murder” (not a cover) below.