JACOB FAURHOLT - Corners
Itís no big secret that I was not an instant fan of Jacob Faurholtís early solo ventures. Too often he stayed in the overly minimal lo-fi genre that certainly had its charm, but little else that would have made this Berlin based Danish artist a must-listen-to insider tip. Itís only been two years ago when he reinvented himself as Crystal Shippps with a more experimental sound that he became more interesting, at least in my opinion. And quite possibly this also has left its traces on his new solo effort Corners, released under his own name, early this year, where Jacob Faurholt finally reveals all the magic that makes his music so much more special than 99,9% of anything else that tries to reach its audience with the singer/songwriter tag.
First of all, it should be mentioned that Corners is not truly a solo effort, but relies strongly on the artistic input of some of Jacobís friends, especially Daniel Crowell (keyboards, percussion) and Craig Clarke (guitars) who help flesh out his sound to something more tangible than I would have hoped to expect in my wildest dreams. If at the beginning of his career, Jacob Faurholt may have put more emphasis on form than on content, this is by no means the case anymore in the year 2014. In fact he has developed into a full-fledged songwriter where every song in itself has something to say. Sometimes he uses the band concept to its fullest effect, in order to create indie lo-fi rock of the highest order, but even when Jacob switches back to more laid back sounds, there is always still so much happening in the background that you will never grow tired of his songs.
Take for instance the opener and title track which starts with vocals and electric guitars in purest singer/songwriter form, but I bet after two or three times through this track, you wonít be able to listen to it without singing along to its melancholic chorus, and then being surprised that the regular song ends right in its middle, adding an encore full of distorted guitars that doesnít stand back behind its first partís involving drama. Sweet Life is another track that convinces with an incredible strong melody. Where most artists unleash their great ideas on their first few albums, Jacob Faurholt seems to improve with age, like those rare wines that most of us canít really afford. A Horseís Head is more of a ballad, but the busy percussion part makes sure that it will stand out no matter what. Oh My Love begins like a typical singer/songwriter ballad, but it doesnít take long for a very rhythmic drum beat to make this some kind of nearly punk rock song that once again shows how much Jacob Faurholt has evolved over the years. Sing & Swing is a real ballad, for a change, but anything but ordinary thanks to the wonderful mellotron part.
The second half of the album continues in more or less the same vein. Itís maybe a little tamer, but definitely no less interesting. The final two tracks Two Moons and SH are ballads, but they fit well into the overall concept of the album. Especially the concluding song may seem like your typical slow, but the droning electric guitar definitely gives it a threatening vibe you wouldnít have expected just like that.
Corners is thus the best solo effort under the name Jacob Faurholt so far. He claims bands like Lemonheads and Guided By Voices as his influences, and while I personally think the former have been overrated for too long, the latter definitely make sense, although I rather feel a kinship to a better produced Daniel Johnston. Especially the more rocking tunes remind me of the collaborations between Daniel Johnston and Jad Fair. I know that Jacob Faurholt can hardly be labelled an outsider artist, but his emotions feel true enough to make him one of those rare artists who channel their vulnerability through very intimate indie rock music that will leave an impression long after the artist has recorded the music. Jacob Faurholt has been around now for more than ten years, and his music keeps on improving. I donít know for how long he will be able to keep up these spooky progressions, but until then I suggest that you check out his music. Corners is available as a very limited CD release, or as a pay-what-you-want download release on the artistís Bandcamp page. I suggest you leave him a couple of euros in order to encourage him to create more such blissful music in the future.