I don’t know. Whether it’s the Bosch cover art, or the T.S. Eliot liner notes, or the well-lit plinka-plinka that inaugurates the album, there’s something different about this one. No doubt we’ll always screw his name up — Landon A.R. Coleman, natch — but something about the tea leaves makes us nod in agreement.
Self-descriptions are often all you need to know, and in this case they don’t disappoint. Folk_With_Eyebrows implies simple and acerbic, while Pop_With_Eyebrows suggests someone bookish and accessible. All together, it’s a pretty good description of Landon Coleman.
Take the luminescent museum tones of the opening cut “Give My Hips to the Girls,” a self-percussive ukulele serenade, with a grappling hook vocal line that you’ll be singing before you’ve got the vocals all worked out. We hardly notice the viola and French horn at the first turn, or the fact that the lyrics are actually quite morose (“Give my heart to the sea, I think that’s where it’s meant to sleep.”) Stream the track below.
“Montreal, You Never Call” is pure Woodstock — the first incarnation, that is — with its open-air organ, lo-fi drum lick, near-gospel piano and triumphant harmonica. The production is drenched with Living Room Chic, and right about now we’re thinking of the massive Grammy performance that introduced the world to The Arcade Fire. Sorry, Win. You just never call. (It’s a free download. So go get some.)
There is downtempo work here, too. “A bit of rest just off Rideau” is a quick highball at a gin lounge, while “We Caught Aflame” is terrifying, heartbreaking, yet never didactic or doctrinal. “Trace It Back” is all cigarette smoke and cheap draft, a piano and guitar ballad that finds Coleman wavering like a good mortal should. Maybe it’s about time we went and read some Eliot.
Nostalgia and euphoria, regret and existential awe. It’s all here. Download two tracks, stream in full, and buy at the Bandcamp link. Read more at Myspace.