You Can Have What You Want CD - Gnomonsong

There's a dreamlike quality to Jason Quever's sweetly-delineated indie-pop. Once again Quever, who has at various times worked with or supported Grizzly Bear, Vetiver, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, and Cass McCombs, hides behind his nom de plume Papercuts, continuing to combine his reverb-wrapped vocals with hazy arrangements and enigmatic lyrics.

On initial listening, it is easy to allow the 10 likeminded tracks on You Can Have What You Want to drift along without noticing Quever's ambition and creative presence. While the basic Papercuts template remains the same, Quever has added a loose narrative structure that (a) follows future travelers on a journey from home planet to the stars, (b) dissects the philosophical nature of death, and (c) examines the loneliness of leadership. Quever, however, cloaks his subject matter in seductively fuzzy soundscapes fronted by vintage Hammond organ, with underlying slices of guitar, drums, bass, and ethereal backing vocals. This gives science fiction tales "Once We Walked in the Sunlight," "The Machine Will Tell Us So" and "A Peculiar Hallelujah" a detached connection: the statements never override the shapely melodies or coolly conforming analog production. Likewise, the pixilated pop cuts "Dead Love" and the title track, which offer reminders that what we leave behind is as important as what we do in life, are also not torpedoed by Quever's melancholy thoughts due to inviting, lo-fi instrumentation.

The album's standout is 1960s-inclined "Future Primitive," crowned by relatively forceful bass, guitar, drums, and expurgated strings. It's the only time during You Can Have What You Want when Quever seems assertively energized and engaged.

By Doug Simpson



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