Review Summary: "if it wasn't for the Devil the Bible'd be so borin'"
Paul Cary has soul. He has a surplus of soul actually. Probably stores it in his basement, next to the frozen dinner's and his broken TV set, where fuzz fills the room like a lethargy. His soul is probably filled with alcohol, and is also known as spirit, or in the modern tongue, Budweiser. He's the type of man who get's dumped two times a week, and get's drunk five times every five days, and one of those nights,it appears, he got up and made an album.
In reality, all that is just assumptions, Paul could also be a devout catholic, who's never had sex in his life, and believes dancing is from the devil, but his music sure suggest's otherwise. Paul Cary's Blues is a nasty entity of the past. A practice in the estate of the Sonic's, but instead of just emulating the blues bands from past generations, or using that history as a throwaway influence, he embodies it. "The Curse Of China Bull" starts as a typical blue's affair, until half-way through it a raggedy out of tune saxophone solo emerges, turning the entire song on it's head. "On The Rise" is a hell of a jam, picking up the the tempo to a frantic rate, before he slows the album down (barely) with "Angel From Heaven". Paul Cary doesn't play fast and loose with the rules, on the contrary he pays them a sort of reverence, but is never a prisoner to them, bending and breaking them when needed.
The album is far more than a dirty rendition in the blue's though, it's a trip into Paul Cary's world. The album's purpose is most clearly spoken in it's closing number "Green Monster" easily the defining song of the album, Paul Cary Crows "You can hear it in the dead of the night, let me tell you about a place called hell." And tell you about it he does, or more accurately put, he drags you into it. By the third song, Iryna, you will be completely lost in the album's atmosphere, an atmosphere rich with deep emotion. This isn't emotion as portrayed by The Eels or The Antlers, it's not an album that makes you break down and sob on some desecrate beach, it's an album that makes you want to get up and beat your wife. Or at least, for legalities sake, get up and punch a wall. Paul Cary's hell is a place of broken beer glasses, cigarette stubs, and dirty bars, a hell of being drunk alone another night. In this album, even Paul Cary's whispers seem like howls. Their are rarely albums with this much emotion, especially with an emotion as unique and unexplored in the modern music scene as this one.
2010 might of belonged to Kristian Matsson, Kanye West, The Flying Lotus, and The National. It's hard to deny any of those bands The Tallest Man On Earth's Dylanesque songwriting is beautiful and enthralling, Kanye West's grandiose pop is majestic, The Flying Lotus is arguably creating some of the most creative electronica we've ever heard, and The National's middle age crisis has never sounded so good. Each of these bands made us feel something inside, a sense of beauty. Paul Cary is a different being. He won't make you feel the beauty those albums made you feel, but he sure as hell makes you feel something, and it's a lot more potent. Music rarely has an impact as potentially deep as Paul Cary's Ghost of a Man has, and if nothing else, it's been years since we've heard Blues done this damn well. Paul Cary's "Ghost of a Man" is the most overlooked album of 2010.