Burd Early is one of those almost-entirely-one-man-show-singer/songwriters that pepper the indie rock landscape. With only a smattering of outside help (including Tim Barnes of Silver Jews fame), Leveler is something along the lines of a slightly less interesting/cohesive Songs For a Blue Guitar.
The three tracks featuring Barnes on drums are the album’s strongest. He provides a solid base to anchor Burd Early’s tendency to slip away into free-form slowcore (see “I Will” or the overlong, but catchy instrumental “Here We Go Again”). The album’s best song is “Tangent.” Its folk-disco beat allows no sound, regardless of dissonance or degree of wankery, to escape the overall groove. The rest of the album is pleasant enough, but seems a little too much “songwriting by the numbers” to break any new ground. If the interim between Mark Kozelek albums has been threatening to overwhelm you, Leveler might satisfy your mopey jones. Otherwise, just pull out your copy of Ocean Beach and let this Burd gestate a little longer before giving him a gander.