Break up and beyond from North Carolinan troubadour.
Written over six years by the Bowerbirds’ main man Phil Moore, this album charts the slow disintegration of a long term relationship and the subsequent reevaluation of life’s bigger questions and imperatives. It comes from a lo-fi folky place with a mellow lyricism and sense of melancholy but not in a maudlin or self-pitying way.
Arrangements are primarily acoustic and complementary and the songwriting is playful, almost baroque in places. ‘Seems Impossible’ has a square dance rhythm and feel – not pop but also not traditional Americana either. Moore’s voice is an expressive one without any particular signature sound and on many tracks is burnished by some lovely harmonies or duets, as is the case with the gossamer-light ‘Pennies’ – gorgeous.
‘The Rules’ features some gnarly guitar, a rarity on this quietly forceful album and its presence is a welcome palate cleanser, with its echoes of Mr Young.
‘All this Rain’ is a Bon Iveresque highlight. Hymnal and tack piano-based with a staccato tune and harmony-filled. Similarly, the album closer ‘Every Life’ with its final question for all of us.
Repeated plays bring the songwriting to the fore and Mr Moore has certainly delivered a strong suite of songs on a life event that could have been mawkish in a lesser writer’s hands but here each one sparkles and reverberates. Good job, well done.