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Greg Laswell - anyone Thinks ns Dodged a cartridge (Vanguard Records)

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Ever due to the fact that his debut LP, an excellent Movie, come in 2003, Californian Greg Laswell has actually continuously proven to be among the finest singer/songwriters of his generation. When his stint together the frontman of san Diego troupe Shillglen definitely showed promise (however short-lived), that his succession of solo initiatives that clues him together a characteristic, consistent, and main voice in ~ the scene. Always eloquent and refined yet complete of impassioned sentiments and also witty prose, his work has actually a timeless and also universal quality that’s almost impossible come disregard. Fortunately, his newest studio collection, anyone Thinks i Dodged a Bullet, continues to be true to the legacy. While it’s not fairly as varied or enticing as its immediate predecessor, Landline (2012)*, it comes immensely close, resulting in an additional remarkable succession that any kind of fan of heartfelt and infectious folk/indie rock need to adore.

Appropriately billed together “his most personal release . . . A soul-bearing experience that is cathartic, atmospheric, and haunting, and also at times, channels Leonard Cohen, Elbow and Sigur Rós,” anyone Thinks i Dodged a cartridge was written, performed, and also produced completely by Laswell (well, aside from contributions from cellist Colette Alexander and also the mastering the Grammy-winner Evren Göknar). In countless ways, its relatively somber and straightforward arrangements complement its embittered story of heartbreak and defiance perfectly, yielding a an effective listening suffer whose beauty and longevity stem from its relatable fragility and also antagonism.

The record opens up with its title track, a moody waltz made up of woeful etc arpeggios, shuffling percussion, and also recurring electrical piano patterns. Naturally, Laswell sings through his trademark hope baritone, uttering lines like “I’m no gonna phone call my new friends around you / No, I’m gonna let the slide / I’m gonna it is in lazy once I write about you / also though the takes all my might” through defiant yet tormented conviction. The chorus is quite catchy, too, through an intriguing an allegory (“And anyone thinks ns dodged a bullet / however I think ns shot the gun”) speak volumes about the speaker’s headspace. That another great example of just how Laswell transforms the conventions that a separation song top top its head; fairly than mourn the loss through weakness, his narrator own the instance with power and also acceptance.

Actually, this snarky classiness permeates numerous others songs, including the symphonically synthy “A lifetime Ago,” whose directness and tender bellowing brings the emotion come the forefront. While every one of the lyrics carry out a fine job of mocking the pretentiousness the his ex-lover, the final sentiment is possibly the most biting: “What room you gonna execute / when gravity gets to you?” there’s a similar vibe and also sense the virtue in “Out of Line,” while “Watch you Burn” is one electrifying centerpiece bursting through restrained drumming, ghostly ambiance, ominous strings, and perhaps most surprisingly (but effectively), auto-tune top top Laswell’s voice (which provides his character sound even more broken). Yes sir a brilliance come the incongruity between its melodies and words, as Laswell assurances lines prefer “I’ll begin the range / and get the house warm/ for you to land in / and also watch you burn” together if lock endearing promises to take care of his soul mate.

“Not the same Man” goes for a more traditional singer/songwriter route, with anguished orchestration and piano accompaniment doing wonders for the silkily saddened foundation. Honestly, it’s one of Laswell’s many heavenly however tragic pieces ever. In contrast, “Birthday Wish” and “Take that Easy” are grittier and more in-your-face, if “Play the One Again” permeates v the type of bittersweet nostalgia and well desire (however feigned) that inescapable follow every separation. That is poignancy mirrors the of Pearl Jam’s “Black” or the movie Eternal Sunshine that the Spotless Mind, which is important saying something.

Desolate cellos introduce album closure “Not Surprised.” quickly after, they’re join by more scuffling percussion, repetitive piano notes (which are fairly hypnotic), and more crushing singing and lyricism. The simplicity of phrases favor “I’m no surprised, you know / I never ever really said, ‘goodbye,’” suitable with how Laswell hums alongside the swirling strings, is devastating. Since of this, “Not Surprised” is a troubling yet gorgeous method to end.

There’s nothing on everyone Thinks ns Dodged a Bullet the matches the power or catchiness of, say, “My fight (For You)” (from take it a Bow) or “Another Life to Lose” (from Landline), but that’s because it doesn’t have the very same purposes. This is a record about somberness and also subtlety, not invigoration and also intricacy. It’s an album to get lost in, to spark introspection and also closure. In that way, it’s an exceptional journey the proves once again why Greg Laswell is such a masterful, distinctive, and an essential artist.

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*Of course, i Was walking to be an Astronaut came out in 2014, yet it contained reimagined takes on older tracks, no wholly brand-new material.