This is absolutely NOT the case with Making A Friend From Scratch. The cartoon album cover hints at the childlike theme of joy which is further demonstrated by songs such as I Like Pie and The King of No Pants. The lyrics are full of silly imagery (most of which hints at a deeper meaning) such as, “So please forgive me if I am forward or I am backward or I am upside down in underwear braiding things into my leg hair. And I’ll forgive you if you find yourself a little needy, raining on my cloudy disposition in a perfect self-fulfilling prophecy.”
The most memorable song (and a crowd favorite at live performances) would have to be The King of No Pants which is about the joys of coming home and getting comfortable from your “prison made of gabardine.” This song has a They Might Be Giants feel to it and can’t help but evoke a smile when everyone who comes into the narrator’s “kingdom” congratulates him for “show(ing) the world your crown.” The only case for a sad song on the album would be Stone Cellar which certainly has a melancholy beginning but even this song picks up in a very Abud-like way and ends on a happy chord.
Making A Friend From Scratch is not layered with backing instruments and harmonies as they would be unnecessary when dealing with Abud’s level of talent. This album gives the impression that someone happened to walk in with a microphone while James Abud was showing off some new songs in his living room. Indeed watching Abud: A Bard perform with a guitar in hand and two foot pedals operating a kick drum and tambourine you can see how this album could exist as a live performance. This is emphasized by moments such as when he encourages all to “SING IT WITH ME NOW” on The King of No Pants. In live versions of this song the whole crowd is encouraged to shout “NO PANTS” during the chorus, much to the jubilation of attendees.
Making A Friend From Scratch straddles humor and cynicism while maintaining a central theme of positivity. And the guitar playing is so good you guys. Seriously just unbelievable. Abud says in the opening song Tinfoil, "Perfection is so misunderstood. Eliminating the bad won't make it good. I don't want to sparkle like a diamond I want to shine like tin foil shines." While this is a profound message, his guitar playing certainly shines like perfection to me. Listen and purchase on the Abud: A Bard website.