I, like many of the woefully ignorant record buying public out there, had allowed Bill Callahan (aka Smog) to slip under my music radar over the last few years. This, despite a prodigious output and much critical acclaim. Perhaps it was his reputation for revelling in misery or maybe it was the generally lo-fi genre which he inhabited that put me off. Whatever. His second solo outing, bought on the basis of a glowing Word magazine review has led me to a wonderful place inhabited by Callahan and his bittersweet lyrics.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is in fact a majestic record, shimmering with understated beauty and heartfelt sincerity. If that seems overblown, listen to My Friend without thinking of someone you have lost. Listen to Eid Ma Clack Shaw without wistfully reminiscing about times gone by (or being jolted by recollections you'd rather not have!). Listen to Too Many Birds and I defy you not to be blown away by the sparse but powerful imagery.
Somehow, it doesn't feel right to label a record with so many superlatives. My indie scepticism, hardened by the incessant hype surrounding the music industry, usually won't allow this level of unfettered adulation. But he deserves it, he truly does.
A magnificent record by a true auteur.
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