On Heaven's Gate, Omaha, NE's Simon Joyner began his transition to more laid-back and contemplative folk music. Having slowed down from the sound on his earlier recordings, Joyner won over new fans of lo-fi rock with this LP. On "Kerosene," Joyner refers to the album's title in a somber and deliberate tone. Joyce Roper adds cello, while Alex McManus performs violin on the track, creating an eerie and passionate mood. The sequence of "The Black Dog" and "Catherine" perfectly highlights Joyner's high-pitched voice and simple song structure. Bill Hoover adds a warm accordion sound in the background on "Catherine." The second half of the album continues the downbeat mood set in the beginning. The mandolin and banjo on "Alabaster" create a haunting emotion behind Joyner's chanting vocals. An eerie and somber mood is created in the song "Hollywood," mostly through the ominous picture painted by the lyrics. The album closes with the epic "Farewell to a Percival." Drummer and Sing Eunuchs co-owner Chris Deden appears throughout the album on drums, organ, and tambourine. In the end, the album sets the pace of the next few Simon Joyner albums, a pace of somber and reflective folk music.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer