Tue Aug 26 2008
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
No, that’s not a woman’s crisp voice; it belongs to a singular man with a Farinelli-esque register, a rich history (Berlin to Kennebunkport to Boston…) and plenty of pithy yarns to spin. Joel Thibodeau, who plays under the ironic moniker Death Vessel, has taken full advantage of his move from niche label North East Indie to perennial powerhouse Sub Pop: He waited a staggering three years to release this sophomore set, a luxury justified by the Waterford-clear sound furnished by the Figgs’ Pete Donnelly.
The spare folksiness found in Thibodeau’s debut, Stay Close, and in his live solo performances is sometimes obscured by Donnelly’s slick production. Even in highlights like “Bruno’s Torso,” the background drone and multiple guitars threaten to be too much, too precious. Still, Thibodeau’s odd tales and arrangements—and that voice—usher in a Carrollian trippiness absent from pop since the passing of Tiny Tim.
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