Secret Meeting score: 83
by Philip Moss
‘Everything ain’t going the way I planned,’ ex-Great Lake Swimmers’ front man, Colin Huebert, sings on Stop Trying – the hushed folk opener that begins the journey through his new album, Not Somewhere. And like the sun filled, roadside photograph of Dean Martin’s house that adorns the LP’s sleeve, the lazy, meditative mood will leave you feeling lost in its simple, lush melody.
All the early breeziness disappears on What Ifs. Instead, on a darker, more brooding lo-fi number, Heubert channels Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock – ‘I am a Frankenstein version of my mother’s child. I was at Watergate – I held the door, I was the bait,’ before its chugging guitars fall into a sleazy 70s piano refrain.
Given half a chance, Temporary Weakness will creep under your skin with its beautiful glockenspiel tinkles and layered field recording from a children’s playground. The End II // Song of Joy feels like Stephen Merritt fronting The Antlers, as it leads you into a maze, with no idea where the arrangement will twist and turn to take you next. And as is the case on a number of tracks, Untitled 32 (live off of the land) comes in at under two minutes – but, oh my, it features the best backing vocals you’ll hear all year! Before things take another macabre turn on the ironic ear worm Nothing Disease.
In another pair of hands, Not Somewhere could be a bonafide folk pop record – such are its exquisite melodies. But thank the Lord that these songs appeared to Huebert. Because what he’s shaped on his fourth record under the Siskiyou moniker is one of the most interesting, intrepid records of 2019 to date.