Review Summary: A compelling testament to compositional quality
Anyone familiar with Meus’ debut, Downpour, and recent follow-up, September, should have a good idea of what to expect on his latest outing, Miserere Mei Deus. Consisting solely of instrumental acoustic guitar, the 5 tracks contained herein beautifully flow from song to song over this 17 minute album. Each piece can stand alone on its individual merit, however, the carefully chosen order produces an enjoyable experience from start to finish.
The compositions vary from the more intricate and layered tracks such as “Hymn IV” and “Head of Bone”, to the more minimalistic, “Kaleb”, however the dynamic shifts throughout create a variance that keeps the entire record interesting. Subtle use of delay and reverb add a touch of brilliance to each masterfully plucked note, however the shimmering brightness of the steel stringed acoustic and Meus’ intricate playing create a brilliant atmosphere that basks the listener in its shimmering radiance. While most of the tracks are uplifting throughout, certain curious and almost discordant moments can be found weaved into particular tracks which create a well thought out juxtaposition to the harmony that never comes across as jarring or unwelcome. In line with Meus’ previous releases, the natural sound of the recording is unique in the sense that it does not rely on an abundance of studio trickery to create an interesting record, which is a testament to the compositional quality found on Miserere Mei Deus.
While this latest record may sound similar to previous works on the surface, there is an undeniable evolution and growth to Meus’ songwriting and playing. Every moment is necessary to the whole and the concise runtime comes across more as a focused decision than a lack of ideas. While similar instrumental acoustic folk artists rely on a multitude of additional instruments such as strings, flutes, and pianos, to create an effective album, Meus’ ability to rival his peers with such minimalistic arrangements in such a compelling manner is truly worth experiencing.