Gravenhurst - Flashlight Seasons
On his debut album, Nick Talbot (aka Gravenhurst) is committed to dark material, as autumnal as fallen leaves and dying light flickering between trees. The residing accompaniment to his clean, yet weary, voice is an acoustic guitar; with a noticeably wider palette saved only for tunnels (sinister organ), hopechapel hill (harmonica), and east of the city (this a shimmering instrumental interlude full of foreboding). Needless to say, Flashlight Seasons is decidely low-key.
With such stripped down music, the melodies need to be memorable, so it's unfortunate much of this record doesn't grip until you read the lyric sheet. Talbot's writing is mainly cryptic, and there are good lines, such as "and the east-end rogue you so admire/ is a murdering fuckhead/ the influence is clear".
The ice tree, while apparently no less personal, is more direct and thematically universal in its approach: "I caress where my lover once lay by my side before I turned inwards and forced her to fly". It's the album's most succesful moment; a genuinely hummable tune married to achingly tragic words.