vrijdag 17 mei 2019

Untitled. Toby Goodshank

Pay attention, dear reader, as something special is taking place on this day. Something usually reserved for messiahs exclusively. Today, a month and four days after the initial announcement Untitled is resurrected. Knowing from experience over the past years how hard it is to predict resurrections or apocalypses, 35 days late is not a bad score at all. Toby Goodshank's album from 2009 has been remastered for vinyl and is released on Tiny Room Records in The Netherlands.

For me it is an introduction to Goodshank's work and what an introduction it is. The listener is taken on a ride that stops at several stations where a surprise awaits the listener. From perfectly melodic indie rock to a weird soundscape accompanying soundbites and some slacker rapping is not a huge step on Untitled. Psychedelic treatment of recordings are far from uncommon. These surprised would just be surprises were it not that most songs are more than interesting. Toby Goodshank knows how to write a good song and to work in some interesting details. A guitar solo that flies in softly to make its point, to change into a funky, high-sounding rhythm guitar further on.

Lou Reed is no stranger to Goodshank. The dark, chugging rhythm that is Reed's trademark can be found on 'Track 5', all songs are untitled as well, except for their tracklisting. What happens in the lyric of 'Track 5' is for you to discover. O.k., I thought, but it involves a girl crying; to give away just a little.

With 'Track 6' one of the highlights of Untitled comes by. Again a slow, alternative rock song, with some great harmonising, with some disconcerting elements slowly growing more aggressive in the background. It gives 'Track 6' something menacing. While nothing changes in the bases of the song, it simply continues, it is totally changed through the sound effects that are added.

Toby Goodshank refrains from using any fireworks on Untitled. At heart each song is one man with one acoustic guitar strumming away. There are no immense effects in the music. All is elementary. From there Goodshank is on the lookout for little embellishments that give a song its extras. Like gravy and salt on the potatoes. Business as usual is what makes this album come alive. Song after song. It is in this way Untitled becomes special. Not just special, also impressive.

Dark and gloomy Untitled may be. Listening to it certainly influences my mood by offsetting little sparks in the gloom, the album makes me feel good and smile regularly. It is simply too much fun to have a negative effect. Not many dark albums can claim this stake.


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