American singer songwriter Will Stratton says that his albums are ‘most comprehensible in fall or early winter’. Perhaps it’s because we’re across the pond, but Post Empire feels entirely suited for Summer. It has the sound of the mid-west, with adept and agile fingerstyle guitar that places itself in the middle of a dusty desert sunset, bouncing off rocks and into the ether. ‘You Divers’ begins with swooning filmic orchestration and ends with the faint sound of grasshoppers.
Seasons and the passing of time engulf Post Empire, Stratton’s fourth solo album. These tracks are the audio equivalent of time lapse – clouds covering large swathes of land with their shadows that disappear again just as quickly. The guitar phrasing may be fast but the overall effect is soporific and mellow.
Stratton’s lyrics tend toward the reflective and blue. His voice has echoes of Nick Drake, Sufjan Stevens (who guested on his first album) and The Tallest Man on Earth – a laid back honeyed melancholy. Vocalists Amelia Meath and Maia Friedman are a good counterbalance, their drifting beautiful harmonies a light to Stratton’s dark.
Although this album feels measured, the basic guitar and vocal tracks took a day and a half to record (in the Brooklyn studios and with the same engineer as Cat Power and Deerhunter). The string section came later, the layered process giving the sounds perspective, gliding towards you from different directions. It’s no surprise that Stratton did a degree in music composition.
Post Empire may be too laid back and subtle for some, too wistful to attach itself before moving on. But like the title of one track ‘If You Wait Long Enough’ it could craft itself into something rather lovely. This may well be a bit of a grower, you just have to give it time.
Review by Selina Ream
Video: Will Stratton at the Melodica Festival
Video by Brooklyn based Paper Swan.
Apr 06 1000fryd Aalborg, Denmark
Apr 07 Børneteatret, Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark
Apr 11 Honigfabrik, Hamburg, Germany
Apr 12 Antillenstraat 9a Groningen, Netherlands
Apr 13 Raaf Rotterdam, Netherlands
Apr 17 Die Nieuwe Anita Amsterdam, Netherlands
Apr 19 Envers-swa Antwerp, Belgium
Apr 21 B-tuned3 Ghent, Belgium
Apr 23 The Slaughtered Lamb London, UK
Apr 26 Taylor John’s House Coventry, UK
May 05 Bar Du Midi Amiens, France
May 08 Le Motel Paris, France
May 10 Miscelanea Barcelona, Spain
May 11 Sous Le Reverbere 41709 Toulouse, France
May 13 Le Kraspek Myzik Lyon, France
May 17 Fluc Vienna, Austria
May 21 K4 Prague, Czech Republic
May 22 Belushi’s @ Mosaic House Prague, Czech Republic
May 23 Kunsthof Grohlis Dresden, Germany
May 24 Café Schwarz Leipzig, Germany
May 25 Franz Mehlhose Erfurt, Germany
May 29 Schlosskeller Darmstadt, Germany
May 30 Café Galao Stuttgart, Germany
May 31 Hempels Keller Im Annapam Augsburg, Germany
Post Empire is on digital release, available via bandcamp. There will be a vinyl release later this year. Will Stratton has also begun touring with Tamara Lindeman, aka The Weather Station.