I'm not sure if it's because I'm writing this at 6 a.m. and therefore my mind isn't fully functioning, or if it's simply that Sonny Smith's 100 Records project is so obscure that I'm simply unsure of how to approach Volume 3 – (the final instalment). Whatever the reason, my mind is certainly reeling. Do I just rate the music without even considering the whole idea behind it? Should I even factor in the presence of the other art forms? Seriously, how do I even begin to approach this?!

So you see, I say I'm unsure because the project itself is a combination of various forms of art on more than a musical scale, and it is the method behind these melodic stories and short narratives that is so interesting. In fact, by cleverly bridging Smith's interest in art, music, and theatre, they've become exhibit-worthy-song-poems, with various portfolios of the project having been displayed at Gallery 16 in San Francisco. Is Smith, then, an artist, an author, or a musician, and on that note is this whole idea simply absurd? Obviously I'm not here to answer that, but I will imply that seeing as art is undoubtedly a form of experimentation and exploration, this is artistic expression at its most creative.

Still, I clearly digress. Maybe because the longer I listen to this it seems that any possibility of an approach that is logical for you, dear readers, to enjoy, becomes increasingly unclear; the unification of so many passions is a little overwhelming to say the least. For what it's worth, here's a little context - each song has actually been written by Smith himself, and each 'artist' is a fictitious creation, but several not-so-fictional visual artists were recruited to design the covers. And so the album begins with (an appropriately titled) 'Life Ain't Clear', a swingin' little number that grinds to a muffled halt after a few minutes, neatly leading into 'Minimum Wage', a leisurely combination of soft acoustics and gentle 'ooh's'. Think drunkenly hopping freight trains and watching the barren world go by in a blurry haze while you shoot some whiskey to warm up.

'Half Boy Half Girl', infused with a screeching organ and wobbly piano compositions, is a woeful ode to an absent best-friend hermaphrodite, as Smith, uh, I mean, singer of The Wayward Youth, laments, "I'm lonely, lonely, don't know what to do." 'Space Travel's in My Blood' sounds like a melodic LSD trip gone wrong – or right, depending on how you look at it really – and you sort of wonder what this 'space fun' is that has Earth Girl Helen Brown all in an intergalactic twist. Meanwhile, 'Year of the Cock' is an amusing, haphazard account of trips to clinics, broken minds and questions, which comfortably steers a listener towards 'From Dud to Stud, From Zero to Hero', a spoken rather than sung sex-themed fable.

A couple of tracks like 'Medication' and 'Wolf Like Howls From the Bathhouse' are purely instrumental, positioned at fitting moments throughout the record to provide a moment of respite from the obscure. 'Cosmorama' jingles and strums with such enthusiasm it almost doesn't matter that you can't really understand what he's saying, and 'Canyon Manor Rehab', with a gentle shake of a maraca, subtly concludes this mammoth endeavour.

Whether or not you find yourself a fan, the scope of the project in itself is a remarkable achievement. The entire record sounds like it would be played on loop on a jukebox 'downtown' – wherever this abstract 'downtown' may be – which is fitting, seeing as the earlier volumes were once played on, well, a jukebox, to accompany the artwork's exhibition. There's a 50s groove meets ragtag blues minus the 'woe is me' vibe throughout, a peculiar combination of musical characteristics that is distinctly San Francisco. The strong Beatnik vibe to the whole record is a possible reflection Smith's travels from Frisco to Denver, cities which at one point possessed a unique and fascinating change in – and challenge against – the norms of artistic expression. Smith, then, has captured the unusual Frisco freedom-calling, liberated mind-set that baffles most of America, never mind the rest of the world, and so it seems appropriate that the one word that has remained in the forefront of my mind throughout this review is 'different'. Considering the bands aren't even real, the entire project is almost imaginary – or, at least, it requires some kind of work from your imagination. But perhaps because of this, I suggest that like the roads of Frisco, keep your mind open. And if you just don't like it, there's always the artwork to look at.