Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
With the sound of Nashville superstar-in-waiting Sturgill Simpson’s fab debut album still humming in our ears (it was only released in February in the UK) he’s back with follow up: the wonderfully abstract sounding Metamodern Sound In Country Music. His debut was country music at its most searing - with a vibrancy too rarely heard from debuts - and whilst it covered pretty standard tales of heartache and women, Metamodern… is more about the wide ranging themes of the cosmos, theology, and physics. As you can probably tell, Simpson has the voice of a country act but he doesn’t create music or use themes like anyone else working in mainstream country today.
The title of opening track, ‘Turtles All The Way Down’, is based on the myth that the world is actually flat and supported on the back of ever-larger turtles. Including the line “Marijuana, LSD, psilocybin, DMT, they all changed the way I see / But love’s the only thing that’s ever saved my life,” it's trippy and psychedelic - yet played as straight country. The album’s reverb-drenched sound gives tracks like the prog rock freak out ‘It Ain't All Flowers’, the slide guitar trip of ‘Long White Line’ and the country ballad ‘Voices’ a spacey, hazy feel. The cleverness of Simpson is how he combines Elvisesque ballads (the heart wrenching ‘The Promise’) with full on down and dirty groovin’ (‘Life Of Sin’) with everything in between. One of the safest calls of the year is to say you won’t hear another record like this - country or otherwise.