Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jacket Thor - Sirens Will Guide Me

So I’m out in Rhode Island for the week horse and housesitting, and this album, Jacket Thor's Sirens Will Guide Me, has been dominating half of my music listening here. Zen like an afternoon nap, these songs can get me going in the midst of most anything; seriously, its borderline virtually impossible to be unhappy while listening to them, even when the lyrics are pointing to death and our inevitable and constant existential crisis.

The eight songs come together easily to create a consistent and effective tonal voice, taking full advantage of the acoustic guitar and “whatever equipment, instruments and things to drum on that [Kalentkowski] had access to.” It’s somewhat short but definitely sweet, and its pay what you want on bandcamp so… pick it up.

The album picks up with White Noise Machine, an ambient and slow track consisting of, unsurprisingly, acoustic guitar, some manner of percussion and a backdrop of white noise. It’s short, coming up at nearly two minutes, but gives us a fantastic window into what the rest of the songs will be like.

The second song picks up a bit, a little darker and poppier, with a new source of percussion, boasting a somewhat deeper sound: much like a boot slapping the pavement. Ryan shifts into a sweet falsetto in much of this song, taking it into a different range than the first.

Love Song for a Beast is longer, just over four minutes, and creates an energy that I would place in between the first two, making it a good chronological choice for the album. The mood is set exceedingly well. “We’ve all heard about death,” I want to be sad when I listen to it, I really do, it’s a sad song, but I can’t, it’s just so damn beautiful.

Little Fortress is a nice change of pace, with some distorted bass thumping in time with the cymbal and snare. It’s lo-fi and weird, and I like it. I like it a lot. That said it serves well as a transitional track between the first and second half of the album, shorter than the first song, clocking in at a bit over one minute.

Conversational Exorcism is my favorite track, it’s powerful yet quiet and Ryan’s voice reaches a new low towards the halfway point of the song, a bass which I really enjoyed and almost wish he employed more often. The riffs are interesting and accompany the vocals really well, and I can fall asleep to this song any time of day (I mean that in the very best way, I really do.) Also, the harmonies are a really nice touch.

Skyline is even sleepier than its predecessor. The tone is a shade sadder than the songs that precede it, and though it is good, it’s not my favorite and functions I think mostly as a bridge between Conversational Exorcism and the next track: For The Young Night.

For the Young Night is louder, and definitely too strong to come directly after Conversational Exorcism. Like I’ve said, the tone is well shaped in this album, a lot of thought went into it. The lead guitar accompanying the rhythm in this song is fun, I definitely enjoyed it, and overall the song is really catchy and I find myself bobbing my head half-unconsciously every time I’m listening to it. It’s the longest song, coming in at nearly five minutes, but certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Sirens Will Guide Me is the only song that could have finished the set. It makes me sad to hear it end, imbued with a certain sense of longing and melancholy chill. When I first started listening to the album I was completely dumbfounded every time the music came to a halt. It ends so suddenly, and I think that’s just perfect for the sad yet hopeful feeling that the songs carry with them. Seeing as the conclusion of the rest of the songs is unsurprising, they all lead out pretty bluntly, this sort of ending definitely brought me back to the play button plenty of times, and hopefully, it’ll do the same to you.

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