Laptop | Don’t Try This At Home | Gammon

This album reminded me of the time I made an ’80s mix tape and I denied liking Blondie, though I knew every word to “Call Me.” Listening to Don’t Try This At Home has a similar effect: a satisfying, secret indulgence – but without the sass of Debbie Harry.

Singer/songwriter Jesse Hartman’s third album, Don’t Try This At Home, shows his original indie roots riding through a wave of post-’80s pop-punk fusion. Basing songs off his own childhood favorites from the decade of excess, Hartman takes a sharp turn into the world of electronic rock. Touring with legend Richard Hell, Hartman sharpened his electric guitar skillz and nudged his foot in the door, eventually releasing his first EP End Credits in ’98 under the name Laptop.

Through cheeky lyrics like “I feel like I’m atop a cloud / I’m kind of wowed / Surprise! Surprise! It’s kind of nice. Wow. It’s pretty nice,” Hartman establishes a dry hilarity. His songs tackle breakups and self-identification, as shown in “Don’t Try this At Home,” where he sings, “A rock ‘n’ roll animal, an irreverent funky-ass Jew / But what I did not account for was this cultural vacuum.” Whether his irony outweighs his nutty humor remains questionable, though he does garner style points for looking like a glam-punk Bowie. Perhaps that’s reason enough to go out and buy this album.

[Lara Bradshaw will gleefully sing you any Blondie song and even the rap from “Rhapsody.”]