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Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

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Reseña de álbum

When Bill Callahan left behind his long held Smog moniker, he gave longtime fans of his lo-fi, mopey, sometimes angry aesthetic some real cause for worry: there was not only the name change, but the reliance on more technology that began with the Diamond Dancer EP and the outright lush production (compared to his past work) on Woke on a Whaleheart. Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle should give them some cause for relief, though the growth on the previous two offerings cannot be erased. There is no grand statement on Eagle; it's merely the record that comes after Woke on a Whaleheart, but it feels more like a Smog record though it doesn't sound like one. This is the darkest, moodiest set he's issued since Supper in 2003, but it's also easily his most accessible musically and sonically. We don't hear much more than Callahan's idiosyncratic misanthropy offering itself speaking and breathing room on most of these tunes; his baritone is right up front and rarely gets stretched. His themes seem to center on flight and return, and are no better illustrated than on the opening cut, "Jim Cain," where, along a gently shuffling snare and kick drum, his nylon-string acoustic and electric guitars, and a cheap but effective keyboard, his ruminations are guided. They caress that voice out of its hiding place: "...Well I used to be darker/Then I got lighter, then I got dark again/Somethin' to be seen, was passing over/And over me/Well it seemed like a routine case at first/With the death of the shadow, came the lightness of births/In the darkest of nights, the truth still dazzled/And I work myself, until I'm frazzled/I ended up in search of ordinary things..." It's a cause célèbre for the album.

So much here is written, scored for, and sung from, the place Callahan knows all too well, the outsider with the richest of interior lives with numerous motivations. Tracks like "My Friend" express, gently at first then more aggressively, sentiments that may be wholesome in their intent, but in their expression become more aggressive and even slightly sinister.

While Callahan's songs are characteristically simple: the way they are recorded is relatively more complex. Things are not so shambolic; they are carefully measured, tempered, and sequenced. Songs such as "All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast," are based on two-chord vamps, and Callahan's voice does nothing to disguise itself as his lines are short, clipped, and shorn of unnecessary verbiage. But the sense of dynamic tension that gathers as violins, lithe, airy electric guitars playing single string leads, syncopated tom-toms, and synth lines that mimic French horns, offer a wider dimensions. Ultimately, this sense of circular motion, whether it's flight and return, the human breath, birth, death, rebirth, loss, and love is the elemental construction of everyday life, and hence a lyrical cornerstone on Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle. It is perhaps a seminal new more accessible chapter in Callahan's oeuvre of heretofore lo-fi, strictly outsider music.

Reseñas de clientes

Particular, elusive yet familiar

Callahan's songs and style, like those of other talented people (if previous reviewer is more talented than Callahan, I'd like to meet her), take time to get to know. The simple honesty of the lyrics can be mistaken for plain old simplicity upon first listen. The arrangements are also paradoxical, complex yet child-like. The music is almost embarassingly direct, yet instantly inviting, sung in open prose in a bass violin-like voice. This album is decidedly darker than Woke on a Whaleheart, yet tempered with his customary hope and wonder. And, like Whaleheart, it is build like a novel; at the end you've been taken somewhere.

Jim Cain

Stephen Thompson, from NPR Music suggested that these songs "plant themselves in your brain, [and] lay eggs..." Callahan's music has this enigmatic ability. After listening to this record, you will find yourself unconciously mumbling the half-remembered words and music as you go through your day - walking about, in the restroom...whenever your mind is free to wander.

This record isn't great or perfect by any means, in fact there a songs that are almost embarassingly awkward - making you wonder, "what was he thinking?" etc. However, the opening track, "Jim Cain" is among his finest works, second only to "Palimpsest" from "A River Ain't Too Much to Love."

"Jim Cain" alone is reason to pick up this record. It will knock you out - easily, my favorite song of the year.

Amazing!

This album is absolutley amazing. Eid Ma Clack Shaw is perphaps the greatest lyrical song I have ever heard!

Biografía

Nacido/a: Silver Spring, MD, 1966

Género: Alternativa

Años de actividad: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After almost 20 years of using the alias Smog for his music, Bill Callahan switched to his given name for his releases after 2005's A River Ain't Too Much to Love. The 2007 EP Diamond Dancer and full-length Woke on a Whaleheart both mixed the intimate, reflective, largely acoustic sound of later Smog albums like Supper and A River with gospel, soul, and pop elements, and boasted arrangements by former Royal Trux mastermind Neil Hagerty. For 2009's Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, Callahan returned...
Biografía completa
Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, Bill Callahan
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