DM Stith has announced the release of his long-awaited follow-up to his 2009 critically acclaimed debut Heavy Ghost. Pigeonheart will be released in 29th July via his own Octaves / Outset Recordings. The announcement comes alongside that of his new single War Machine (released 27th May) which you can hear above – a track of animalistic rhythms, intricate guitar lines and idiosyncratic electronics that brims with tension and brilliantly ushers in Stith’s new phase.
For those curious about the intervening years he appears to have spent a large majority on the road. He toured the United States and Europe on his own opening for Julia Holter and Yann Tiersen (who recently announced the release of EUSA), he was part of Sufjan Stevens‘ Age of Adz live band and a front man to the collaborative project The Revival Hour with John-Mark Lapham. Yet in his own time, Stith still managed to generate several albums’ worth of material, and with the help of Ben Hillier (Blur, Nadine Shah) the release of his second studio album Pigeonheart has finally come to fruition.
Even though Pigeonheart picks up right from where the high level of artistry established by Stith’s debut album Heavy Ghost left off, it also signals an exciting new era for him. On the album, Stith introduces modular synthesizers and drum machines into his ornate world, and there’s an artful tension to the album that is brought out by deep canyons of bass, electronic static, and vibrations of hammering heartbeats as the lyrics explore themes of identity, the obsessive mind and the nature of memory.
If Heavy Ghost was invested in the power of catharsis and exorcism, Pigeonheart is engrossed with the ideas of transmutation and transfiguration. Most of the songs on the album begin with a question or unanswerable declaration that is then expounded upon musically. Only at one point does Stith remind us: “Don’t ask questions to which you know the answers.” Whatever the answers are, Stith’s sheer determinism is evident in every song, revealing a musician who has matured and learned to be comfortable with ambiguity and unanswered questions.