12 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Holcombe Waller is an acoustic performer from the West Coast whose gentle guitar and piano musings carry their anxieties in a flurry of fingerpicking and gently sawing strings. “Atlas” sets the tone, with a sound not unlike Elliot Smith, Langhorne Slim, or even Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis. The stripped-down approach rarely grows very grand. The ambience of “The Unicorn” comes close to Hollis’ elusive atmospheres before morphing into something more agitated. “Baby Blue” has a mature melodicism akin to the works of Paul Simon’s son, Harper Simon. But while acoustic musicians draw obvious and obscure comparisons to other acoustic songwriters, Waller’s voice is a gentle weapon that can soar through octaves at will. The cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan” is a terrific find and a vibrant live performance. However, Waller’s own writing on the spooky “Hardliners” and “Shallow,” the near country-rock of “Into the Dark Unknown,” and the intensely ethereal “Bored of Memory” are sure signs of a formidable talent making his presence known.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Holcombe Waller is an acoustic performer from the West Coast whose gentle guitar and piano musings carry their anxieties in a flurry of fingerpicking and gently sawing strings. “Atlas” sets the tone, with a sound not unlike Elliot Smith, Langhorne Slim, or even Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis. The stripped-down approach rarely grows very grand. The ambience of “The Unicorn” comes close to Hollis’ elusive atmospheres before morphing into something more agitated. “Baby Blue” has a mature melodicism akin to the works of Paul Simon’s son, Harper Simon. But while acoustic musicians draw obvious and obscure comparisons to other acoustic songwriters, Waller’s voice is a gentle weapon that can soar through octaves at will. The cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan” is a terrific find and a vibrant live performance. However, Waller’s own writing on the spooky “Hardliners” and “Shallow,” the near country-rock of “Into the Dark Unknown,” and the intensely ethereal “Bored of Memory” are sure signs of a formidable talent making his presence known.

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