Noah Gundersen
Ledges


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matt Harrison CONTRIBUTOR (20 Reviews)
February 20th, 2014 | 38 replies | 6,553 views


Release Date: 02/11/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Noah Gundersen's debut album is the unsung tale of a broken man, full of loss and uncertainty, heartache and sacrifice, asking questions we'd rather not know the answers to.

Like all folk singer-songwriters, Noah Gundersen can be referred to using a synecdoche -- or, in less pretentious wording: someone in which a single characteristic is used to describe them as a whole, or vice versa. While the term itself isn’t the most well known, we see it all the time. I mean, just think about it. Whenever a particular team or individual wins the gold in an Olympic event, we don’t say it was a win for [insert team/individual], we say it was a win for [insert country] because depending on the context, the specifics are either what’s most important or least important. As it so happens, folk artists, arguably more than those of any other genre, can be used in the exact same way, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The narrative-driven lyrics are such a defining aspect of these musicians that we can aptly refer to them as storytellers even though that’s only a single aspect of their role. But what is the point of such superfluous clarifications? Well, it’s simply that more than a singer, or guitarist, or any other sort of musician, Noah Gundersen is first and foremost a storyteller, and it's a point that needs proclaiming.

Truly, Gundersen's debut album, Ledges, is the unsung tale of a broken man, full of loss and uncertainty, heartache and sacrifice, asking questions we'd rather not know the answers to. And if that sounds vague, well, it’s supposed to be. The topics Gundersen cracks his lips over are topics we all know so well they don’t need elaborating on to be more impactful. Sure, that means they’re topics we’ve heard time and time again, but that only makes them hit closer to home. When Noah sings “I’m not thinking of you anymore/not the way you want me to/ I don’t even want to/ or maybe I do…” on “Liberator” you feel in one simple sentence all the resentment, bitterness, anger, and ultimately doubt we feel when we’re nearing the end of a collapsing relationship. Yet, it’s the simple, life-encompassing lines like this that Noah sings on track after track to the point where his words aren’t just universal -- they’re deeply personal. When he sings on “Cigarettes" “You don’t have me anymore, but the truth is you do/ I keep coming back to you ‘cause honey, you’re smooth,” he’s presenting a side that even among folk artists is uncommonly raw. And sure, while I could get into the musical side of the album, detailing every arpeggio guitar lick, weeping violin solo, and rhythmic tap, would it really matter? It's folk. The music, while definitely enjoyable on Ledges, sits on the wayside just as it does on the work of nearly ever other intimate folk artist. Because after all, isn't the way a storyteller tells his tale less important than the tale itself?



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Comments:Add a Comment 
YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here's the title-track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YA-vSo74ho

Album wasn't as powerful as his Family EP overall, but still a great release.

Digging: My Brightest Diamond - None More Than You

DannyChrisnanto
February 19th 2014



54 Comments


I find the studio version of Cigarettes to be a little underwhelming, but then maybe its cos this version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvnZRnK7ySk is just too damn good

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I agree. They're coming through my city next month. I'm looking forward to it.

tragic.details
February 20th 2014



624 Comments


Damn, that title track is pretty damn good. I'll have to check this out.

Noteros
February 20th 2014



52 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Unbelievable album. He really deserves all the attention it's getting.

Sanders
February 20th 2014



2345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what's this similar to?

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 20th 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lyrically, probably Radical Face or Iron and Wine even. Musically, I'm not really sure. Whatever current bands out there have a folk/old-time-country-gospel type sound that you'd hear in the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou. 1930s type country.

RadicalEd
February 20th 2014



2588 Comments


He's got a really nice voice that's for sure. It takes some confindence to open an album with a two
minute a Capella intro.

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 20th 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's pretty powerful. Especially on "Fire" off the Family EP.

a7c7e7
February 20th 2014



36 Comments


Hey, nice review. First paragraph is cool. Will check.

LizaLowe
February 20th 2014



42 Comments


Sweet review shall be checking this out tomorrow

letsgofishing
February 20th 2014



900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was sold on this album as soon as the opening track turned into Down To The River to Pray.


YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 20th 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's a good opener.

Matte
February 20th 2014



538 Comments


I went with a friend to the album release show at a record store in Seattle. Hadn't heard of him before then and I was very impressed. Great album.

Otisbum
February 20th 2014



1912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review for an awesome album. I definitely agree that it's not Family (or even Saints & Liars), but it's quickly growing on me.

Thanntos
February 20th 2014



318 Comments


Radical Face? Bleh. Iron and Wine? Yay.
I'm a big folk follower so definitely excited to hear this.

Digging: Prawn - Kingfisher

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 20th 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You don't like Radical Face???

Thanntos
February 20th 2014



318 Comments


They have gotten progressively worse and worse with each album, I'm just losing a lot of interest in them and it's getting stale.

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2014



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ridiculous!

thelastsignal
February 21st 2014



1270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent write-up, man! I love Noah's stuff, especially the Family EP. His vocals and lyrics are the perfect melding of sorrow and beauty. I'm excited to hear this one.



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