Jefferson Pitcher

The Residue

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Inspired, as he details in the liner notes, by everything from concepts of home to the course of a cross-country bicycling trip, Jefferson Pitcher creates one of his warmest and, for lack of a better term, traditional releases on The Residue. A strange description, perhaps, but for a student of experimental music Pitcher has always had an ear for direct lyrics and strong, conventional rock instrumentation, helped by a variety of collaborators including Christian Kiefer. The opening "The Edges of the Earth" sets the tone -- piano-led, soft, then softly charging playing, an understated kick that is almost classic rock as soother. From there, The Residue gently explores variations on the familiar -- a "home" that he subtly tests as much as celebrates, collaging martial beats and accordion melodies, moody feedback drones with gentle, forlorn twang. Pitcher is more than fine in straightforward terms -- "I Will Save You My Son" is his best lyric on an album full of good examples, but it's not all he can do. When the guitars suddenly arc up in volume at a dramatic moment in "The Sooner You Go," the assembled singers come together to help drive "Work of Kings" to a stirring conclusion, and distant melodies introduce the increasingly tense "Eubulides the Hero," each moment shows fine skill at work beyond strong songwriting in general.

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