Review Summary: am i yr only one? cause you're still my only one...
It's almost weird to think of how Single Soul started out, now. While it has always been one guy doing everything, it used to all be 1-track drunken, out of tune, acoustic depression. If you're new to Mr. Jacob's music, there's really no good defining piece of work, since with Single Soul alone he's been all over the place. There's been the aforementioned acoustic depression (Songs About Girls
, I Wish I was a Bird...
), the more traditional indie rock-ish stuff (beauty and despair
), and now I'm not even sure. His split with Boring Bathtimes was hinting at this, with its more dreamy, yet less apathetic sound. But even then, it didn't have anything like "new wave girl" or "abby is pretty". In the simplest of terms, this is the best thing he could've made.
I talk to Jacob rather often, so I always knew how much he liked Mogwai (he's the reason new Sensory Deprivation will sound different, hint hint), and other post-rock bands, but I had no idea how he was going to incorporate a sound like that into Single Soul. At its core, Single Soul might as well be slowcore in a similar way to Red House Painters (eat yr heart out mark, track 5) or Codeine. But, the first real song you hear will throw this idea out the ***ing window. For the first time ever, Single Soul has incorporated blast-beats and even some sort of comedic growls. On top of that, we have the aforementioned post-rock influence in the form of swelling dynamics, tremelo picked guitar notes, and just an overall expansiveness I never expected to hear from the guy.
The first thing we are greeted with is an intro that might as well be what Single Soul doing Mogwai would sound like. It swells satisfyingly, but then the album surprises you again; there is a fast song. "New Wave Girl" incorporates the blast-beats I was talking about, and the overall sound of this song is rather hazy but almost uplifting; never thought I'd say that about Single Soul. From here on, the album starts to seem a little bit more like what's to expect from the guy, with slow acoustic songs that swell to miserable perfection. But, the overall clarity in the production has been cleaned up (his vocals finally don't sound like mumbles), the acoustic guitars surround you in a way similar to the Microphones, and the melodies overall just seem a tad more optimistic.
Perhaps one of the best traits this album has going for it though is just how complete it all feels. The flow this thing has is just perfect, with the ambient tracks never feeling like cheap filler to beef up the length. It almost saddens me that this album isn't a little bit longer, because the diversity on this thing is unreal and could probably make a perfect double album. You have the excited (new wave girl, untitled 9), the slow (the quality of mercy is not strained, trinity river blues part twose), the subdued (smoke will drift east, sweater weather), and the epic (abby is pretty). I could write a whole paragraph alone for "abby is pretty", since it might as well be Single Soul Fear Satan. Then again, I think that says enough.
I don't know if this is going to be the last thing Single Soul ever does, but if it is, this is the best way for one to kill its self. Never in a million years would I have expected someone who made I Wish I Was a Bird
to eventually make a song as staggering as "abby is pretty". This album still contains plenty of the old elements that make Single Soul so great, but even those are improved exponentially to sound far more intimate, yet vast. It's not the album I always hoped Single Soul would make, because truthfully this exceeds my expectations. He's still sad, but the future looks bright for this fellow. Fear Satan.