Death Vessel - Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us

Death Vessel is a rather fumbled proposition. Essentially a vehicle for the talents of Joel Thibodeau, third album Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us could’ve been great but squanders any good-will thanks to Thibodeau’s voice. He sounds, quite frankly, like his balls haven’t dropped, and at times it cleaves a little too close to novelty. This is a pity, as there are songs here that suggest something as thrilling dark as the name ‘Death Vessel’ promises.

The first sound on the album is a morse-code style electronic melody and it signals that this is an artist interested in broadening the parameters of folk music. Most of the songs are driven by acoustic guitars and the painfully fey sort of lyricism that marks this out as prime Juno-rock, but when he breaks out of this formula, Thibodeau really yields results. There’s a bit of sax on ‘Belt of Foam’ and some really unhinged electric guitar on ‘Exploded View’ and ‘Peninsula’. It’s sometimes quite jazzy, which is no bad thing; the bits that sound a little out of place are infinitely preferable to the rootsier stuff, most notably ‘Obadiah in Oblivion’, which is too insincere and knowingly ‘folk’ for its own good.

The real problem, though, is that Thibodeau’s voice just doesn’t change. Whether the lyrics are playful or downbeat, he sounds infantile, naïve. It really robs the better tracks of their impact. Songs like Peninsula require a bit more bite; someone older, more grizzled, more cynical. The way the album is now, it’s nice, well mannered folk rock, mostly quite upbeat and accessible, but with a wilful naivety that ends up annoying rather than inspiring. Listen for a while after the final song- there’s a hidden track, an instrumental, which manages to communicate an absolutely perfect sense of melancholy that is almost there, but not quite, throughout the rest of the album. Sometimes, you just can’t voice that sort of thing; you definitely can’t if you insist on singing like a pre-pubescent boy.



out of 10

Last updated: 18/04/2018 21:44:18

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