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If Floridian Jim White isn’t the secret-haunted, torn-down itinerant preacher he poses as on this weird, winning, creepy album, the urban hordes will probably call him out for it, just as bluegrass waif Gillian Welch is undergoing hazing for growing up amid Los Angeles’ folk tradition and not Tennessee’s. But Wrong-Eyed Jesus is, like its title, both fake outsider art and very real. The names sprinkled around this project place it neatly as an amalgam of pop appropriation, authenticity, and respect: David Byrne, Victoria Williams, Joe Henry. White’s stories smack of danger, his long songs lope or skitter; half of them could credibly accompany a New Orleans funeral. His laconic vocal style ranges from tight and low on the Tom Waitslike shakedown “When Jesus Gets a Brand New Name,” sung through his teeth, with a chaos of kitchen-sink percussion binking and clanging behind him, to keening and off-balance on “Burn the River Dry,” delivered in a falsetto reminiscent of a kid in a Christmas pageant. The stunning opener, “Book of Angels,” sounds like a pop hymn torn apart and rearranged by a madman, and “Heaven of My Heart” is a cynical man’s footloose declaration of love. Unpredictable and not entirely respectable, this is snake-handling music for urbanites.

—Arion Berger