Noah Gundersen – Carry The Ghost
The great thing about summer albums is that they’re often recorded in autumn or winter. Reflecting the season in which they were created, they can bring a damp slice of miserableness to the sunniest of days. Noah Gundersen’s new album, his second, sounds like it might have been recorded in deepest December. Slow, dark, and super-serious, it’s totally unseasonal and, of course, utterly wonderful. We’re in early Damien Jurado territory. High praise. The core is folky acoustic guitar. And the sadness on songs like ‘Silver Bracelet’ is palpable and unutterably beautiful. Yet, more so than on his first release, there’s an electric element to this album. ‘Jealous Love’, ‘Slow Dancer’, ‘Halo (Disappear/Reappear)’, ‘Show Me The Light’. These are the slow burners. They’re somehow frustrating and yet all the more rewarding for it. In an alternate universe they could easily take off and reach a bro-country sort of chorus, but, thankfully, we’re in this universe and they never do. Instead, they sit and simmer, reflecting, regretting, and remaining resolutely and reassuringly indie. There are some lovely turns of self-deprecating phrase. “I watch you watching Dylan like you’re watching a saint, And I could not help but notice everything he is I ain’t”. And things come to a head on the penultimate track, ‘Heartbreaker’. Seven minutes long, it builds to a moment of pure catharsis. “Heartbreaker, Name taker, Ladies’ man”, he cries, followed by a searing guitar break. Summer is pretty much over at this point. Heading into autumn, Carry The Ghost is the perfect companion.