Rosehall
The First Requisite Is Life


4.5
superb

Review

by luci USER (21 Reviews)
May 29th, 2018 | 142 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Experimental folk that uncovers the holiness of everyday existence.

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.
- A.W. Tozer, Christian author and pastor

----

The status of religion for the modern music lover is quite precarious. The freedom and openness we find in our pastime feels worlds apart from the restrictions of religious dogma. And yet, the redemptive power of music is aptly described as a holy experience. Reconciling this difference has been an endeavor for many indie artists – perhaps the most seminal moment being Jeff Mangum straining his vocal cords with “I love you Jesus Christ!” At a mewithoutYou show, you’ll find a crowd of disbelievers united in spiritual communion. Disrupting our preconceived notions about belief is one of the most novel experiences to be had with music.

Forgive me if I’m imparting lofty goals on The First Requisite Is Life. Self-released on Bandcamp, this intimate work by Timothy Charles has an unassuming heart. It begins with dream state approximations of Bon Iver songs before unspooling into psych-folk that flows like the ego does on a summer day. It is the most deeply moving album I’ve heard all year, a disarray of chords and falsettos that welcome you in despite the avant leanings. An intriguing personal narrative guides this stream, which I’ll explore while attempting to maintain the mystery of the work.

Listening to The First Requisite Is Life is like meandering through a city and absorbing all the life around you. There’s a cloudy, hallucinogenic quality – an awareness that life can branch in infinite directions coupled with the ache of being stuck on a fixed route. Lush strums and playful sax bops (courtesy of Ethan James) animate the scene of a man drifting through reality, weighed down by grief and depression. Charles makes extensive use of spoken word, and they are often the most remarkable parts of the album. Musings on abuse and loss are granted equal weight to sung passages. The effect is disarming, leaving a lump in your throat at unexpected moments.

Despite being steeped in religious imagery, the lyrics are reticent about belief in the traditional sense. They are presented with an impressionistic touch, exploring notions of faith and acceptance from an outsider view (as the cover art suggests). This is in large part due to the artist’s gay identity and the church’s ensuing rejection. I feel the urge to understate this detail because Charles handles it with grace and subtlety. It informs the animating struggle, a quest to find "holiness" outside of religious upbringing. Nature, music, the everyday sublime… these forces are sought out to lift the veil on depression and reorient the self. That drive for connection is what makes the existentialism oddly comforting: no matter how deep Charles falls into his mental chasms, you trust that he’ll chart his way out.

My first listen of the record was the most impactful, and I’ve been trying to parse why since. The fumbled chords, scrappy singing, and open disarray triggered a visceral response in my brain; the willingness to exist as an open wound, stating the truth of your pain. The ramshackle beauty of this album might not find an audience, but I have faith that Charles will keep sharing these stories, if only for himself.



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user ratings (33)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
luci
May 29th 2018


12331 Comments


Favorite release of the year thus far. It's a unique work that doesn't quite sound like the recommended albums, but you'll spot the influences.
Bandcamp stream: https://rosehall.bandcamp.com/album/the-first-requisite-is-life
Available on Spotify, Apple Music etc.



ramon.
May 29th 2018


3707 Comments


baller review dude. jamming the record now, your review captures it pretty perfectly. as you've said, i'm fairly certain deeper aspects of the appeal will be lost on many (myself probably included) but as someone who is religious, i do appreciate this incredibly rare insight (at least in a music sense). "vines" is pretty flooring on numerous levels.

DoofusWainwright
May 29th 2018


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven't delved into the greater meaning of the lyrics but really appreciating the way he uses the words in a purely musical context, some powerful phrases/passages certainly stick out. This is a real find Lucid gotta say.



Great review.

DoofusWainwright
May 29th 2018


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sunday's Cool really reminds me of 'Yellow House' era Grizzly Bear



I'm feeling I might join you on a 4.5 rating once I've given this ten or so full listens

TimothyCharles
May 29th 2018


61 Comments


Thank you for the brilliant review Lucid, and the kind comments guys I'm both grateful and incredibly flattered.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 29th 2018


34359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I streamed this on bandcamp during my drive to work this morning. It's absolutely brilliant. Will need to give it more time before I settle on a rating but this has some truly jaw-dropping moments. This is exactly what 2018 has been missing.

Digging: The Airborne Toxic Event - Hollywood Park

TimothyCharles
May 29th 2018


61 Comments


Also let me state how great the other member of the band is - Ethan James (credited as Ethan Bellhouse, I need to change that), the sax player, is a lovely person and powerful driving force behind the album.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


2435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

both of you have made something luvly. as have you, my dear lucid

luci
May 29th 2018


12331 Comments


slipped in a credit for Ethan :>

TimothyCharles
May 29th 2018


61 Comments


again thank you so much

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2018


6323 Comments


adore this review, will spin

butt.
May 29th 2018


7408 Comments


Really great review, you've piqued my interest. Hopefully jamming this later today

Divaman
May 29th 2018


5253 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Terrific write-up.

Digging: O'Brother - You and I

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


25705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Outstanding review. Very in-depth and insightful without coming across as over-the-top



Will jam today at work!

TheBarber
May 29th 2018


3939 Comments


This is the best shit I've come across this whole month, fabulous digging there Lucid

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 29th 2018


34359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah this is legit

luci
May 29th 2018


12331 Comments


Holy. Holy. HOLY.
Much appreciate the comments guys, and nice to see others sharing my enthusiasm.

TimothyCharles
May 29th 2018


61 Comments


I don't wanna keep spamming these comments with thank yous but thank you guys ahhhhh

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 29th 2018


34359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^One of my favorite moments (@Lucid)

@Timothy -- you don't need to be embarrassed about, nothing wrong with interacting with your fans a bit and soaking up the glory

IcelandRevel
May 29th 2018


943 Comments


I'll be checking this out!



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