Nate Ashley

Darling I'm Your Devil

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Darling I'm Your Devil, Nate Ashley's second album is, like his debut, quality personal indie pop, with breathy vocals and uplifting melodies that tug with an interesting tension at the oft-melancholic words. While there's not a great stylistic difference between this and the previous Where Matter Lives, it's definitely less acoustic folk-rock-ish in flavor. It's hardly slick, but certainly has greater diversity and range in its production and arrangements. There's an interesting cross-section of acoustic and electric guitar textures and odd effects, like the eerily echoing scat vocals on "Undercurrents," the "Spirit in the Sky"-like guitars and sirens on, um, "Sirens," the bubbling but gutsy electronic beds on "Glayva," the funk guitars on "Vehicle of Groove," the Beach Boys-like harmonic overdubs on "Close Your Eyes," and harmonium-like sounds (maybe it's even really a harmonium: one guesses with trepidation in this electronic age) on "Ana." Often such eclecticism works against and overwhelms gentle singer/songwriters, but fortunately in this case, it complements rather than undercuts the material. Ashley's persona remains intriguing: he's a compassionate tunesmith who nonetheless often dwells upon loneliness, romantic ache, and recrimination. Those whispered vocals mean that it does take intent and repeated listening to get the most out of the lyrics, but usually it is worth the effort.

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