STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 132475-19804 LABEL: Asthmatic Kitty FORMAT: CD EP ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by A T Bradford
Witmer's last album started as an EP and enlarged under the influence of his father's passing. This EP continues that theme with two previously unreleased numbers, a cover of "Abraham" (Sufjan Stevens) and two re-worked songs from 'The Ones Who Wait'. The first, "Light On My Face (Carousel)" features an unusual crematorium request regarding Witmer's ashes, guitar and drum, and the line "We are a carousel when we die." The problem is that carousels don't go anywhere. "In Your Hands" features a pedal steel and drum beat plus beautifully understated female co-vocals (Caithlin De Marrais and Rosie Thomas), but let down by lazy phonetics and simplistic rhyming - "I was in the air, like the birds are in the air" - though as the lyric also says, "It's easy to complain." "Mark My Final Words" similarly complements female voices in subtle and haunting harmony; fine poetry ("I feel gray, inside the black and white") stands out among less-than-robust rhymes ("Only my mistakes, doing what it takes"). "Abraham" employs muted trombone and synthesiser echo to good effect majestically celebrating Genesis chapter 22's sacrificial obedience - "Take instead the ram until Jesus comes." The re-crafted "Life Before Aesthetics" contains a welcome appeal for simplicity within the consumerism of modern day living - "a borrowed comforter" - that's a duvet to you and me. Witmer's outstanding finger-picking acoustic guitar and gentle melody is complemented by the warble of a telephone. A fine collection - as Milton wrote, "They also serve who only stand and wait."
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