Thisell “II” (Jelly Fant Records, 2016)

If you are into art leaning Thisell-2016mystical, sometimes dark and out there music chances are you will enjoy this. Such are the innovative arrangements and beauty of the work performed by Swedish singer-songwriter Peter Thisell , who is supported in style by a bunch of friends playing piano, violin, acoustic, lap steel, electric bass, lead guitar, upright bass, diatonic accordion, drums and harmony vocals. Thisell’s second album II is of a quality to take the listener on one lushly coloured cinematic journey after another. The opening brace of “The Sun Sets In The Weeds” and “If I Sing My Song” set up the album for the gravity pulling “The World’s Last Cigarette”. One thing that does undermine an album like this is the occasions when the vocalist sings a note too high for my conservative taste. Others may like it, but it is something I can do without. Going back to the excellent lead off track “The Sun Sets In the Weeds,” it has everything, wonderful lead, and harmony vocal plus the wondrous spare accompaniment. It sounds a little like the music of the late Vic Chesnutt.

Throughout the record the complex production and subtle textured tones create a sound that though often contrary; there is never a friction between the styles. Amidst the journey reflective fare “Born To Know” and “Amounts To You” you have the troubled “Untitled #5” to go with a more urgent and relatively busier “I Know It Is True, My Love For You” – the uses of strings, keyboards and harmony vocals work a treat. While lovers of Americana’s darker and more complex side will enjoy this and find refuge in the music, others may find the whole thing too complex and art driven.

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