Thursday, June 6, 2013

John Vanderslice - Dagger Beach

 Stepping inside a John Vanderslice album is like touring a factory where every room is filled with a new texture. Popping and crackling on one track, then smoothly polishing a haunting melody on the next, this master of unique effects makes his listeners think. Sometimes, it feels overwrought. On album opener “Raw Wood,” miscellaneous guitar tones can distract from the lyrics. Better are songs like “Sonogram,” where the many moving pieces work together to create beauty that sounds less busy. Vanderslice worked out most the songs on Dagger Beach post-breakup, while walking through about 200 miles of trails. It’s a confusing world he captures here, but a spectacular opportunity to soak up the diverse paths he carves on his wild adventure.

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