Delightful indie pop from Philly based multi-instrumentalist.
Despite the dark subject matter alluded to lyrically, this is an essentially sweet concoction with flavours and tones that remind of Sufjan Stevens, Elliot Smith or Belle and Sebastian. It is a quietly effective narrative that plays out over a series of vignettes that are musically different yet driven by the same basic formula of picked electric guitar with splashes or washes of instrumentation that not only enhance but also twist the expectations. Deep into the album with the track ‘When You Pass Through’ we find an almost standard song form enhanced by some lovely lead guitar that has the listener thinking of Crazy Horse but somehow it remains slightly twisted out of shape, quite beguiling!
The album sets the tone from the opener ‘Degradation’ with its very Elliot Smith guitar figure that then broadens out as the backing gently moves in and lifts it well out of a standard simple singer-songwriter paean. The organ and hushed backing vocals also recall Mark Kozelek whilst the distorted guitar is from the Cline playbook. As an opener it is a perfect introduction to the general tone and musical heft of the whole and by the time you reach the final track ‘Empty Mugs’ with its insistent beat and skeletal keyboards you realise you want play it all over again.
Quite lovely in a very good way.