Friday, November 18, 2011

REVIEW: I Build Collapsible Mountains - The Spectator & The Act

Sometimes I wonder whether a soft, mostly acoustic album can hold my interest. Then an album like The Spectator & The Act by I Build Collapsible Mountains comes along, and I wonder how I could have wondered. Over the past few weeks this has been the album to which I turn late at night, with the headphones on, connecting with emotions and personal space after a day of playing lawyer, dealing with other duties or straining to be "on" in engagements where I really don't feel like it. That isn't because the album is peaceful or soothing (although musically it is both of those), it is because it is an album to get lost in, to really pay attention to the words, phrasing, and underlying emotions.

Shall we begin with the album's opening track? Here is "Face of Thunder Grin" --

I Build Collapsible Mountains - 'face of thunder grin' from luke joyce on Vimeo.

IBCM is Scottish singer-songwriter Luke Joyce, who creates almost painfully introspective and insightful music of great beauty. Particularly notable is Luke's lyrical ability. He can evoke and clear image of a relationship and his emotions about it in a deft phrase or two. One of my favorite tracks, "Burn", includes the line "your eyes are graced with cross-hairs, and I am your kill". Here is a live version:

And here is the title track, "The Spectator & The Act", in which Luke sings
So hold me down by the wrist and by the crown
Don't give up on me
'Cause I hang by hooks and string
You left my bones dangling
'Cause I hang from hooks and string
And you can break me any way you want to
Squeeze my heart 'cause it doesn't feel at all
And you can break me any way you want to
Just tell me its love before my head hits the floor.

Joyce also is the front man for indie rockers The Gothenburg Address. I don't think he's abandoned that project, but IBCM is his platform to showcase his singer-songwriter side. More than that, the album seems to be an explosion of emotions, including longing and rejection. I hope it was cathartic for Joyce, because for the listener the result is a work of art and a musical treat.

The album was released in October on Seattle's Burning Building Recordings. It seems to be flying under the radar, which really is a shame. I urge to to turn down the lights and let this one wash over you.


Burning Building Recordings

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