Wednesday, May 5, 2010

review: Discover America - Future Paths

Discover America
Future Paths
Lujo Records, 2010

mp3: Discover America: "Force of Proper Wind"

A few years ago Iron and Wine was on the tip of all the tongues, now it's chillwave or whatever. So it goes for trends, for singer songwriters and singer songwriters from Seattle maybe as well.

Definitely want to lump Discover America (nee Chris Staples) into the Damian Jurado / David Bazan camp. Too many things are in common. There's that Seattle thing. There's that complicated relationship with Christian faith. There's that understated yet visceral acoustic-type output.

Staples seems more folk than both of those guys, though the opener "Force of Proper Wind" has the piano meandering on the edge of the more honest parts of say, Twothirtyeight's Regulate the Chemicals, a release from Staples' previous band. He reins it end in the following track--"1979"--a weary ballad of indie rock honesty if there ever was one.

Actually, the album begins to separate into two distinct parts--like oil and water. The salt-of-the-earth side is represented by songs like "1979," "Sawdust in My Clothes," the verses of "A Lock of Samson's Hair" and "Time Is A Bird."

The other songs have another edge, utilizing more mechanical means--drum machines, more delay--rock songs almost but more melodic than anything by Twothirtyeight. "Devil In The Woods" is my favorite of these, followed almost immediately by "When You Were Young" and "Out of the Valley" falls somewhere in between the two structures. Sometimes Staples has the jam band Death Cab for Cutie nailed, other times he is doing his best Florida to Seattle impression of the lonesome Southern road less traveled.

It's maddening--give me the programmed drum beats anyday--I want this enforced mechanical isolation to box Staples in--those times he is the most honest, the most complete songwriter and at his best. Forget any of the slightly alt-folk jingles and stick to the bitter, the inhumane, the computational. Sounds awful, I know, but it's Staples at his best.

1 comment:

Related Posts with Thumbnails