Now, More Than Ever
Call it classical post-rock if you want, but Jim Guthrie and co-arranger Owen Pallett (of Hidden Cameras) have taken the sophisticated string-pop of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and expanded it into an entire album. Beginning with “Problem With Solutions,” snaking cellos and violins are the veins and arteries of Guthrie’s music. Hardly sedentary, the string section carries the disc through elliptical banjos, shifting acoustic guitar time signatures and a breezy woodwind/brass swing. It’s like a reminiscence of the old Elephant 6 collective’s lush trappings.
Guthrie’s shy vocal delivery makes it easy to overlook his lyrics of bewildering insight. “Had a life affirming talk with the garbage man today/he said ‘believe in me, I take the trash away'” from “Save It” is just one of many erudite headscratchers.
I’m not much of a believer in the “musician as messianic observer” angle of fandom, but I’ll go along with the idea that music can be one of the best balms when the rest of reality burns. Right now, Now, More Than Ever just might be one of the most soothing albums out there.
Three Gut: www.threegutrecords.com