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Album Review

The searching, noisy-then-delicate music of Eric's Trip had a big impact on Phil Elverum's work in the Microphones and Mount Eerie, so this collaboration with Eric's Trip and Broken Girl singer Julie Doiron and guitarist Fred Squire is inspired, if only because it makes the connection between Elverum and Doiron's music even stronger. Though Lost Wisdom came together during some downtime for the three musicians, its simplicity and immediacy sound intimate instead of tossed off. This is the spare, somber, introspective side of Mount Eerie, with just the barest hints of Squire's guitar adorning Elverum and Doiron's voices. Doiron's singing, both with Eric's Trip and Broken Girl, has always been uniquely lovely and vulnerable, and Elverum uses her as perfectly as he has Mirah, the Blow's Khaela Maricich, and Woelv's Geneviève Castrée on other projects. He and Doiron sound completely natural yet haunting trading verses and harmonies on "Lost Wisdom" and "Grave Robbers" — both of their voices, and the music that surrounds them, have a deceptively fragile urgency that barely rises above a whisper for most of the album. Even the album's loudest moment, "Voice in Headphones" (which, along with "What?," could pass for one of the bonus tracks on the deluxe version of the Microphones' The Glow, Pt. 2), still fits with the rest of Lost Wisdom's delicacy and directness. That simplicity applies to Elverum's songwriting as well; his imagery becomes more tangible with the years, getting to deeper truths about love, death, and rebirth without getting too tangled in words: it doesn't get much more direct than "You Swan Go On"'s "With your hand down my throat/You held on to my heart/And pumped the blood through." "If We Knew..." is a sweet song about aging, love, and marriage that doesn't sound sappy, while a warm glow turns into a destructive fire on "Flaming Home." Mount Eerie take many forms and sounds, showing how comfortable Elverum is with just a room and a guitar or a large cast of players performing his songs; Lost Wisdom is a small-scale gem that shows off his (and Doiron's) gifts to their finest.

Top Albums and Songs by Mount Eerie Julie Doiron Fred Squire

Lost Wisdom, Mount Eerie  Julie Doiron  Fred Squire
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