Saturday, December 14, 2013

coldless constable - Anera

Coldless Constable is the solo moniker of a good buddy of mine hailing from Ann Arbor, MI.  We met some years ago in a hostel in Nicaragua and traveled together for a week or so.  That being my first time out of the country, I had a hard time connecting with the westerner/hostel-traveling circuit as my main bread and butter at the time would inevitably fall back to my knowledge of music.  Justin was one of the only people I met on the trip who I could talk shop about Sonic Youth, GBV, Pavement and the like so we naturally got along pretty well.  Having family in Michigan myself, I travel through Ann Arbor at least once a year and have had good drunken times with him there around the holidays ever since.

Coldless songs are born of a truly great respect for the craft of the song.  I've noticed Justin has a finely  tuned ear for what makes a "good" song and it's pretty evident on this here album.  The music has its roots in good folk songwriting (After The Cold One and Tag With A Chair) with maybe a hint of Elliot Smithyness (though he may not approve of that reference, I don't know) but there are also stellar moments of full band instrumentation a la Spiral Stairs that provide a welcomed shift in pace to the album (Almost Like A Ghost, Lansing Lie, Your Fears, Anera).  These moments carry a sparseness that match the stripped down acoustic songs quite well.  The execution of simple yet effective guitar lines and instrumentation on these tracks really showcase Justin's knack for building melodies that go somewhere, with just the right dash of weirdness (especially during the bridge on Anera) to keep things interesting.  The additional segments of lush keyboard and sonic swells lift the album to new heights and gently let the listener back down to the next doorway through the album.

Realizing today how great of a winter album this will turn out to be.  The melancholy is there, but not overwhelming.  I think it's more about the sparseness of the compositions that make this feel like an appropriate soundtrack to the first blizzard this year.  Get cold.

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