Jaye Bartell

In a Time of Trouble a Wild Exultation

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A poet and writer in addition to singer/songwriter, Jaye Bartell's music has always put the spotlight on lyrical rumination and wry turn of phrase. This is also true of his third Sinderlyn release, In a Time of Trouble a Wild Exultation, though it features a slightly more expansive palette. Several guests on the album include longtime collaborator Shane Parish on guitar and solo artists Emily Easterly and Angel Olsen. The latter is featured amidst the subtle country twang of "Give Erin a Compliment (So Kind)." Sharing imperfect, world-weary deliveries that, at least in this setting, invoke the likes of Johnny Cash, they prove to be ideally suited for harmonizing with one another. They're accompanied by electric and slide guitar, spare drums, and tambourine before making room for a moseying harmonica solo that feels like a third voice. This evocative, character-rich quality permeates the album in tandem with Bartell's understated approach to melody and chord progression; most of the action on the album comes from lyrics and instrument timbres. Exceptions include the opener, "In a Time of Trouble," where lyrics like "I think I picked a bad time/To have a good time" and echoing rhythm guitar are ornamented by a relatively animated lead guitar. Elsewhere, "Army of One" has a narrative dramatized by musical accompaniment, including dissonant electric guitar and chorale-style backing harmonies. Those group vocals return on a rare singalong for the musician, "Mercy." Still, all the arrangements are steered by Bartell's baritone. It's another consistent set of poetic, gracefully atypical singer/songwriter fare from Bartell, and as good a place as any for the unacquainted to start.

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