Standout Track: No. 1, “The Only Good Thing,” a slinky blue-eyed soul number that’s one saxophone solo away from inclusion on an AM Gold compilation. “Walk away and show me just what I’ll miss,” sings multi-instrumentalist David Brown to an imaginary lover who, given the song’s funky ’70s vibe and falsetto-heavy chorus, almost certainly favors clogs and caftans.
Musical Motivation: Fascinated by R. Kelly’s talent for smuggling filth into melodious soul tunes, Brown was at first inclined to make “The Only Good Thing” a little lascivious. “The original concept was ‘The only good thing about saying goodbye is looking at your ass when you walk away,’” says the 30-year-old Petworth resident. Brown eventually lopped off the second half of that notion. But some lewd impulses remain in the vocal, if only subliminally. “The whole thing is the chorus is all, ‘Turn around,’ as in, ‘Let me see your ass,’ but I never actually go there,” says Brown. “Still, if I’m not meaning that on some level it’s probably not a very good performance.”
Steely Fan: Ever since Poor But Sexy started performing last May, friends have drawn comparisons between them and another band that paired dark sentiments with smooth tunes. “To be honest, I don’t think that the comparison is totally appropriate—that we sound like Steely Dan,” says Brown. Not that he’s displeased. “I started spreading the rumor further,” he says. “I think Steely Dan is great—great musicianship, kinda freaky songs, you don’t really know what they mean. I like to think we’re a little more sincere, but they made hits. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Poor But Sexy plays Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Velvet Lounge.