A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Once More, Autumn – Once More, Autumn

Once More Autumn album review

Once More, Autumn is the spectral debut from the St. Paul, Minnesota duo of Evan Walton and Brady Lorenzen. It is a bare, sparse, slight record, shivering and eye-blinking in the dappled silvered light. It is the perfect blend of ambiance and rootsy folk heart, designed to delight fans of Bon Iver but being their own thing entirely.

The eponymous “Once More, Autumn” starts things off with a whisper and the ghost of a strum, telling a story of loss, heartbreak, and new beginnings. It is the sound of walking through a midwestern autumnal forest, getting lost in the infinite hues and striations of colored foliage. You walk, quietly, with crumbling brown leaves crunching under the heavy soles of yr boots. Yr breath steams, ever so slightly, as the air begins to take on a frosty edge. Things get quiet and contemplative, only to burst in a catherine wheel of vocal harmonies, dressed in glorious sunset reverb.

“Nevermine” is again skeletal and refined, stripped down to base elements of a fiddle motif and a spacious guitar line, plucking, twanging, and biting like electric razor wire. Weird percussion flourishes bash out like pot-and-pan bricolage sculpture in the middle of that forest clearing, stopping things from getting too cozy and complacent.

“Foals” is a stand-out track, featuring sturdy folk songwriting, modulating into moody minor chords, but dressed up in cloudy post-rock guitars, like something from a Stars’ record from the mid-’00s. That’s one of the secrets of Once More, Autumn; they’re as much Sunny Day Real Estate as Son House. Equally Fugazi and Simon & Garfunkel. I dub this ‘experimental folk’, and I wish there were a better name, to be able to find more music like this.

If Evan Walton had plugged in and gone electric, this material could’ve come across as emo pop punk, due to an acerbic bite on the vocals. I am tempted to say that no one should attempt emo, post-rock, ambient music, folk or blues without at least taking a listen to this stunning debut. With so many things that could’ve gone wrong, walking the razor’s edge on so many styles that have succumbed to utter shit and mediocrity, instead Walton and Lorenzen snatch victory from the lion’s mouth, and redeem a handful of musical genres in the process.

Fans of the experimental, shivering haunted blues of Loren Mazzacane Connors or Grouper side project Mirrorring; old good Death Cab For Cutie; the ornate pop of Portland’s Typhoon or Radiation City; and, of course, Bon Iver, prepare to be transported!

Once More, Autumn FB
Once More Autumn soundcloud

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