JACOB FAURHOLT - A Lake Of Distortion
Not a year goes by without new music from Danish indie artist Jacob Faurholt. A Lake Of Distortion is already his sixth solo album, coming a good year and a half after last year’s Super Glue. In between, he also released the album Holly under his alter ego Crystal Shipsss, a more experimental side of the musician.
The new album is more or less typical Jacob Faurholt. The album may be rather short at only half an hour of music, but I guess that he rather releases concise albums at a regular pace than let his fanbase wait too long. Also he invited a lot of guest musicians, mostly friends of his who are also releasing solo albums under band names, among others Soren Brothers (Man Meets Bear), Claus Frøhlich (Younolovebunny), Samuel Gray (Sam Gray Singing), Jens Christian Madsen (Tjaere+Fjer) and some I am not familiar with.
I have to point out that I really like the production of A Lake Of Distortion. Jacob Faurholt really masters the art of combining the aesthetics of a lo-fi product with the crisp and clear sound you have come to expect in the new millennium. The first few songs alternate – more or less – upbeat and melancholic tracks. The opener Sugar starts with a child screaming, then switches to distorted guitar and Jacob Faurholt’s fragile, charismatic vocals. A good half minute into the song, bass and drums follow, making this a really catchy and sweet track, as promised by its title. Fear Is Also Love starts as a ballad but its second half turns into a slightly Eighties sounding pop track, courtesy of the pleasantly cheesy synthesizer line. Something Strange is a folk ballad with a certain country touch and presents Jacob Faurholt from his most vulnerable side: beautifully fragile! The title track is up next, and comes as expected with really distorted guitar. The whole song has a depressive shoegaze vibe, and shows yet again another side of the musician. Before It Starts To Rain is another downcast ballad, the kind of track that only Jacob Faurholt can make work. Go is the final upbeat track, which is a shame because so far this alternation between the more fleshed out and the sparser songs made A Lake Of Distortion really a great ride.
The final four tracks are all ballads. Empty Room is Jacob Faurholt’s at his bleakest. Shock Me comes with a banjo or ukulele sound and is rather brief. The Stars Hang Low feels like a lullaby with its glockenspiel. The concluding Listening To Devil Town sees Jacob Faurholt covering himself. The original version had been released on Crystal Shipsss’ eponymous EP from 2013, back then in a speedier version. It was quite pleasant to hear this new, slowed down interpretation, even though I slightly prefer the original take. This song is of course about the music of Daniel Johnston, a huge influence to Jacob Faurholt, as well as early Sparklehorse and mid-period Guided By Voices. By the way, Jacob Faurholt recently participated at a new lo-fi tribute to Daniel Johnston compilation which can be downloaded for free at the Bandcamp page of Suncarrot Records.
A Lake Of Distortion has some really brilliant moments, especially the first half is among the best material Jacob Faurholt has released so far. The latter half can’t come up with as much dynamic tension, and while these ballads are all still very moving, and would have loved one or two addition more pop songs to also make the album maybe a little longer. I don’t doubt that Jacob Faurholt will soon be back with new music, be it under his own name or as Crystal Shipsss, and I am already looking forward to it.