Mount Eerie

Now Only

P.W. Elverum & Sun

Mar 15, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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Under his Mount Eerie guise, Phil Elverum released one of the most powerful albums of recent times, A Crow Looked at Me, laying bare unmanageable grief following the loss of his wife Geneviève to cancer.

A year on and Now Only mines the same emotions, embracing sadness, maybe purging the pain, perhaps simply documenting it. His lyrical style is as affecting as ever, building simple line on top of simple line until a complete and devastating story emerges.

But while thematically this might be the same, time hasn't stood still. He's no longer just writing about his loss; he's also writing about writing about the death of his wife. The title track finds Elverum singing his death songs to drunk young people at festivals, before discussing songwriting with Father John Misty and Weyes Blood. The same track even throws in an unlikely rallying cry for moving on.

That's the big change here: Now Only finds Elverum still swimming in grief, but he's been washed to the borders of his pain, the intensity ebbing. Now he sings to keep her memory going, no longer struck in the lost scream driving his last record.

The signs of forward momentum are present in his decision to beef up the simple acoustic guitar that drove his outpouring in 2017. While it remains the primary sound, space is found for electric guitars, or on the 11-minute meandering epic "Distortion," a carefully deployed piano.

There are only six tracks this time out, some of them long, all of them weaving between despair and inner reflection, seeking a route out of the purgatory he's trapped in. It's part two of a painfully vivid window into the grieving process, and like part one, it's brilliant. (www.pwelverumandsun.com)

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Yiioverflow
March 16th 2018
12:14am

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