“Island Intervals” Death Vessel
Joel Thibodeau is a neo-traditional folk artist from Rhode Island who records under the name of Death Vessel. While indie folk-leaning like Thibodeau’s first two releases in 2005 and 2008, this 8-song set is often washed with atmospheric soundscapes along the lines of Bon Iver or Freelance Whales. Thibodeau’s thin, light vocals with deeply thoughtful lyrics — "For the nonce I will dream of when we jointly preened triangulated heart" — are typically delivered in the highest registers, providing a dreamlike frosting on the airy arrangements. The album was recorded in multiple trips to Reykjavik, Iceland over a period of years — hence the name “Island Intervals.” The extended time periods for recording have resulted in a collection that while having a common feel can be divided into distinct groups — so all the tracks don’t sound the same. An outstanding contribution to the music of 2014!
Recommended: 4, 5, 6, 2, 7 No FCCs.
1. (5:33) Ejecta – Highly textured, atmospheric and somewhat ominous with the help of a pump organ — with machine-like clanking and bells, plus ghostly, floating vocals. Builds to a little fuller sound toward the end.
2. (3:44) Velvet Antlers – Thumping, rumbling drum circle with busy bass line gives this track a jungle feel — with Thibodeau’s vocals tripping through the vegetation ***
3. (3:28) Triangulated Heart – Playful and whimsical — with Thibodeau’s vocals more childlike. Backed by what could be a children’s chorus, together with toy piano and glockenspiel.
4. (3:21) Mercury Dime – Bouncy and melodic in a more structured arrangement. Lead vocals over guitar, bass and drums — with marimba and horns. Less atmospheric than the first three tracks. ****
5. (4:36) Ilsa Drown – Acoustic and breezy, with fingerpicked strings, and lilting, dreamy guest lead vocals by Jónsi, of Sigur Rós. Backed by Thibodeau’s warm harmonies. Ends in aquatic, burbly effects. ****
6. (4:05) Island Vapors – More determined, driving energy created by drums, bass, piano, and dulcitone. ***
7. (4:18) We Agreed – Folky, acoustic guitar-driven number with sparklingly clear vocals in an amazingly high register soaring over panoramic open spaces. Drums add a nice walking pace. ***
8. (4:43) Loom – Soaring and majestic — if at times, sparse and wistful — over spacy effects. Lyrics express regret as well as wonder. "I don’t want to owe you my/only open road to goodbye."