A record filled with baroque pop and folk.
‘Farewell To All The Lovely Things‘ by Wide Arches is the debut album by singer-songwriter Jacob Gorzhaltsan. Having written over 50 songs during the pandemic, and been awarded a grant by the Toronto Arts Council to remotely record and produce a full-length record, Gorzhaltsan whittled the results down to 12 songs. The entire album was recorded remotely by individual musicians in their own homes during the lockdown, although this isn’t apparent from the broad range of instruments used on many of the tracks and the coherence of the songs, which is a tribute to the time Gorzhaltsan spent studying how to mix, record and produce them.
Of all the songs on the album, ‘Sadness Wears Her Prettiest Dress‘, is probably the nearest to a pop song, with its graceful strings and maudlin lines such as, ‘Sadness doesn’t ever ask you, When’s a good time to arrive‘. There are a number of influences at play on the album ranging from Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Harry Nilsson to more recent songwriters such as Damien Jurado. ‘Pictures In The Sand‘ is another downbeat number capturing a snapshot from the life of two people who may be drifting apart or trying to repair a broken relationship. ‘Butterfly‘ is underlain by some ornate classical guitar and strings. The lyrics sound like they were originally written as a poem, ‘You’re a butterfly, you’re drunk you’re dreaming, Drowning in sweet nectar with a smile that’s beaming, Kaleidoscope of colours as you gently rise, Colours of your wings paint pictures in the skies‘.
It’s not all serious stuff though, ‘Upside Down‘ is a quirky, tongue-in-cheek song, as is ‘Fake Smiles, Artificial Laughs‘, which commences with ‘I can tell by the way you walk, That your head is in your own ass‘. The first line of ‘Your Love‘ is the hilarious ‘Your love is like a fast-food dinner, Good right now but it’ll kill me later‘. The wit in some of the lyrics is reminiscent of Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.
‘Waves‘ has the vocals of Kalyna Rakel and Meagan Luchko to the fore with Gorzhaltsan contributing clarinet, tenor saxophone, piano and harmonica. It’s a beautiful song. The album ends with the vocal harmonies of ‘Wasting Away‘, which lasts a little under two minutes. It’s an atmospheric ode to relaxing on a summer’s day pondering life. This record combines some fascinating lyrics with the intricate use of woodwind instruments, strings, piano, guitars and vocals, which combine to provide laid-back textures and tunes; it’s possibly best described as chamber pop. With a large, cache of unreleased songs, it will be interesting to see what Wide Arches do next.