David Garland

Noise in You

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Thanks to David Garland's Noise in You, 2007 has been shaken out of its discographical unremarkableness. Then again, every new album from this too discrete songwriter is a cause for celebration. Noise in You is Garland's first full-fledged album since 2003's On the Other Side of the Window (which had made many critics' year-end lists), but there had also been a little-mentioned disc of guitar/voice recordings, Reveal, self-released in 2006 through the artist's website. That minor gem premiered a handful of new songs like "My Contraption," "I Don't Want to Know," and "Damn Dreams," reappearing on Noise in You fully rearranged, along with more new songs. Garland's writing is as witty, delicate, and utterly original yet so easy to appreciate as ever. The instrumentation is more centered around the 12-string and acoustic guitar, while retaining all the variety found on On the Other Side of the Window. Noise in You is also a more generous helping, with 16 tracks, and features a surprising cast of younger musicians, including Diane Cluck, Mira Romantschuk, Viking Moses, and indie singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens contributing backing vocals and oboe on a handful of tracks. In keeping with his previous album, Garland puts more emphasis on acoustic instruments and the freshness of slightly off the mark performances (especially in the backing vocals department) than on overly polished studio work and, as usual, it serves the songs right. "My Contraption" (replete with the mechanical sound of a hand-powered wooden device), "Every Bird," "Cumulonimbus," "I Don't Want to Know," and "Noise in You" are all very strong songs bound to become classics. In fact, in terms of songwriting, musicianship, and production, Noise in You is the man's most accomplished work to date, and may very well prove to become his most timeless slice of music.

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