Singer/songwriter Josh Preston's third album, Exit Sounds, released on his Me and the Machine Records label, is a quiet and moody affair. The low-key arrangements are led by his strummed and fingerpicked acoustic guitar, with occasional percussion sounds that seem to come from keyboard instruments and a few strings; the tempos range from deliberate to loping; and it all supports Preston's slightly gruff tenor, in which he sings in a murmuring style. Often, the voice tails off to a near-whisper at the ends of lines, as if Preston had expended all his energy getting the first words out. Those words treat romantic and psychological subjects in a depressed manner. The songwriter makes a point in the album's press release of noting that he is the author of the songs, not the actual first-person character singing them, which is encouraging given that the settings find the singer comparing himself to an "Addict" as a relationship winds down and completing a "Lullaby" by noting that he won't be around when his listener wakes up. If the overall tone isn't quite suicidal, that's only because this character seems incapable of mustering enough energy to take his own life.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann