words by tom johnson
Slow, methodical, and bristling with the kind of energy found in the space between weather, Utah’s new album is distinctly beautiful, in that it’s the distinctiveness of its compositions, the subtlety of its idiosyncrasies which lend themselves to beauty, not immediate or plain-stated but skewed and elusive, brought in to a focus a little more upon each repeated listen; pencil lines traced between Molina, Oldham, Bazan, and more.
Distinctly America, in all the sparse vastness and tiny peculiar details that snake through it, the record is shaped by Erik Savage’s voice and vision, his sketches, both choked and gentle, brought to life by a backing-band that adds distant, haunting backing-vocals, like peripheral voices heard but never seen, and also features pedal steel from Pete Gill, who brought such a timeless lilt to Friendship’s incredible 2017 ‘Shock Out Of Season’ LP.
Like that record, Reaper’s Gain seemingly finds a way of existing in the cracks of the day, not the paths most trodden but the quiet fractures where simplest phrases or shifts in sound can come to mean the most. And it’s all brought to life with a heartening sense of time and space, the songs rotating between tempered rockers and moments of quiet drifting, the white noise from the spaces theses songs were conceived in making their way not just on to the record but permeating, too, in to the world the listener inhabits, until there’s a blending of sorts, that special kind of kinship that shifts an album in to something more; a journey taken, a life lived elsewhere.
From the dust-filled ache of the beautifully quiet ‘Rae’ to the more playful strut of ‘Chicken’ (“Walking around like a chicken with its head cut off; that was last year…”) Reaper’s Gain is a special collection of songs, one where the oddness of its mannerisms don’t feel divisive but warming, little moments of joy once-forgotten; like lingering weekends with time slowed down to a crawl, like the smell of concrete after the rain.
Stream it in full below right now and pre-order via Bandcamp.
Reaper’s Gain is released on Friday.
Pre-order it here