Daniel Johnston

Lost and Found

Photographs of artists copping their most well-rehearsed rock-god poses are all well and good, but it’s the intimate, away-from-the-stage-and-mascara images that prove to be most confessional. To wit: The photo of Daniel Johnston clasping his acoustic tightly, eyes closed, a blissful smile upon his face. Music is Johnston’s salvation. For three decades now, this esoteric indie luminary has soothed the growling torment within (his struggles with bi polar disorder find him currently living with his parents) by churning out poesy of the most fragile, forthright variety. Lost and Found, finally seeing its proper U.S. release, is more of his patented pop therapy. Johnston’s never been of the sonically venturesome sort, utilizing basic rock templates (songs are guitar- and piano-driven). What makes him singular: the puerile charms, the unraveling, geeky vocals, the aching self-awareness. It all comes together on “Squiggly Lines,” complete with anthemic crowd noises, and “History of Our Love,” yet another ode to long-time muse Laurie Allen. Lost and Found confirms what we’ve long already known: Johnston belongs in that pantheon of genius, tortured forever-adolescents.