by Philip Moss
Existing in the same world as Vic Chestnutt’s West of Rome, or Alex Maas’ Luca, Brian Borcherdt’s latest LP, III, is a quiet triumph – a record where the creak of the floorboards, or the rattle of his rickety microphone stand are just as important ingredients as his knowing voice, reflective words and rich melodies
III is a record about moments. The moments on opener, Not Offering, when Borcherdt’s voice doubles up at the absolute right second feel just as vital as the doubt that inspired it. And there’s a balance between his choral melody and the lo-fi hiss that swells – slithering around his voice – created by the subtle layered takes that were fed into his laptop at the kitchen table. Keeping perfect time is not important either, and the metre is determined by the feel of his rickety guitar strums; with so little happening in the mix, the minutiae dominates.
But III is also about the art – or construction – of channelling mood and texture into a song. Where, for years, Borcherdt has built hard, claustrophobic music with his Toronto, mostly instrumental based band, Holy Fuck, III strips back everything that you’d expect from the noise maker – making this a collection that is great, but for different reasons. Baseball – a standout right from initial plays – is warm, melodic, even (whisper it!) borderline pop. While tonally, Little More Time would fit onto recent Damien Jurado album, The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania, as he pushes his voice to edge of his comfort zone; and here’s that word moment again – there’s a flow, a realness – as every detail serves the song.
It’s strange, isn’t it, how certain records feel like they were made for specific times within a day. Much like the conditions it feels like it was composed in, it’s a collection ready made for lazy, candlelit evenings and quiet Sunday mornings. A series of considered moments – III is a quiet triumph.
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