Album: Perfect Abandon
Label: Crossbill/Tin Angel
Tom Brosseau, North Dakota-born, based in Los Angeles, has created an astonishing album full of little wonders. Firstly, there are his laid back vocals that come across so effortless, seemingly careless. He seems to sing just by the way without even thinking about it. There is a distinctive wobbliness in his singing which sounds somehow old fashioned. Also the instrumentation and the recording sound natural in an old school way. The album features a 2-piece drum kit (David Butler), double bass (Joe Carvell) and Stratocaster guitar (Ben Reynolds) and it was recorded with only one mic by John Parish (PJ Harvey) and Ali Chant. I really like this sound that echoes the long American folk music tradition coherently.
Tom Brosseau is a true storyteller, evidently so in “Landlord Jackie” or the opener “Hardluck Boy”. He tells stories that you are keen to listen to from the beginning till the end. He tells his stories in a sort of distant mode as if not being completely involved or not anymore. Emotions are referred to mainly in moments of the past, not with an actual urgency. Along with this distance, a refreshing irony is coming into play that is very entertaining.
Yet, my favourite track on the album is one of the more personal, more emotional ones, “My Sweetest Friend”: Here a certain vulnerability is shining through, reflected in the high pitched head voice and nicely contrasted by the self-assured phrase “here I am” sung in chest voice. The simple but powerful chord structure and the beautiful guitar solo (Ben Reynolds) at the end make this song especially strong.
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