Saturday, January 24, 2009

Album Review: Vacilando Territory Blues

While most people (my self included) just know Joshua Tillman as the drummer of Fleet Foxes, apparently this is actually his fifth full length release. Needless to say, I really wanted to like this album, considering how fantastic Fleet Foxes' debut was. Unfortunately, it boils down to a couple songs that stand out, while most of them blend together to form a sort of folk-ier Ray LaMontagne tribute cd. Throughout most of the album I couldn't help but think of LaMontagne's voice being channeled through Tillman, or that it shuffled to Trouble without me knowing.

The standout track for me on the album is "New Imperial Grand Blues," which is the only song that doesn't seem to drag on and monotonously wallow in sadness. With jangling guitars and piercing cymbals, it shakes you out of the acoustic coma, before you get to slip into another one for the end of the album. But the last 45 seconds of "Barter Blues," the song preceding it, is what I find the most intriguing part of the album. Honestly, after the first half of hush acoustic noodling, the explosive end scared the petootie out of me. It sounds great, with wailing guitars drifting overhead, but then just fades into "New Imperial Grand Blues." Why not take out the first seven minutes of the song, which is reminiscent of the rest of the album, and extend that fantastic ending? Anyway, all of the songs are filled with pretty good lyrics, saving it from being more of a disappointment. However, it does contain many "Is this country?" moments, which always scare me when listening to something.

This isn't to say those who like Fleet Foxes won't enjoy this album. They are vastly different due to the absence of Pecknold's voice and their vocal harmonies. But I'm sure there are those will eat this up, perhaps even at fork/knife, and will enjoy it's quiet and sentimental mood. I'm just not one of them. Sorry.

Chandler's Rating- 6.0
Chris's Rating- 7.7

J. Tillman- New Imperial Grand Blues


I have to disagree with Chandler here, I think Tillman sounds like the male version of Cat Power, but he's still definitely trying to figure out what he wants his music to sound like. Overall, this album is above average.
- Chris

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