Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I think I've been suffering from a severe case of Swimmer's Itch.  I loved 2009's Lost Channels so much, I've been waiting impatiently for this one all that time.  So it came as a shock that it didn't grab me on first listen.  The relative quiet of most of the songs threw me for a loop, and I really had to go back for two, three, four listens to appreciate the beauty.

Uptempo, it ain't, aside for a trio of premiere cuts, New Wild Everywhere, Changes With The Wind, and the first single, Easy Come Easy Go.  Tony Decker has never been a rocker, but he could be if he wanted, and Lost Channels led me to thinking alt-country should be his direction.  Well, you can't foist your own opinions on an artist, and Decker is simply forging ahead with his brand of pastoral, only occasionally letting the tiger out.  So, when you hear Easy Come Easy Go spinning on Radio 2, know that there's a lot more talk of luminous veils and the like over the rest of the disc.

So, we shall all mellow out and bask in the reflective, elemental lyrics (as in the natural elements), and take pleasure in the subtle truths and sumptuous melodies.  There's beauty galore, in the rich strings, the soft and twangy guitars, and of course, Dekker's warm breath of a voice.  Newcomer Miranda Mulholland adds some sweetheart harmonies and much of the violin, and Erik Arnesen's banjo is a mainstay.  If New Age wasn't such a reviled term, I'd call it New Age roots or something.  It's certainly modern and dreamy at times.

It's still a shock to the system when the decidedly uptempo and positively jaunty Easy Come Easy Go hits your ears halfway through.  It sounds like The Jayhawks, or early Wilco, both greatly respected in this column.  It does make me wonder what would happen if somebody slipped kick-ass pills in Dekker's herbal tea, but hey, I can live with a couple of hits of this stuff, and the rest of the album filled with such grace.  The deluxe two-CD edition has a bonus seven-track set of demos and acoustic versions.  Buy it, it's only two bucks more.

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