By Craig Howieson
They say the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world they didn’t exist. I’m starting to think that the greatest trick Sufjan Stevens has ever pulled is making the world think it could cope without him. I say this, because even after a relatively short spell between releases, we settle into the well-worn comfort of his back catalogue to assuage us we don’t really need too much new from him, he has done enough. And then he comes along with a track like So You Are Tired to knock us sideways all over again.
The first track to be teased from his forthcoming album, Javelin, it is vintage Sufjan in all the ways you would hope it would be. Intimate, yet soulfully overpowering it acts as an acute deja vu of a feeling you can’t quite place, but know you’ve lived through before. And although it feels like Stevens is addressing the dissolution of a relationship within its acoustic twirls and layers of harmonies, it is also as if you are welcoming back a friend after a trip around the sun. There is grace and poise in everything he touches, but there is also an unfiltered humanity. I think it’s safe to say we’re far from ready to be done with new material from this maestro.
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