Pale Horse and Rider

These Are the New Good Times

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With Aarktica, Jon DeRosa explores ambient sounds and textures. On his debut as Pale Horse and Rider, the Brooklynite does quite the opposite, writing stripped-down country-folk. Accompanied by several guests (among them Low's Alan Sparhawk and Flare's Charles Newman), these delicate pieces unveil stories of romance and intrigue that ironically take place in an urban setting. "Jersey Coast Line," "Coney Island," and "Metropolitan Love Song" instantly acknowledge this, though there's a gospel tinge as well in "I Told Jesus Christ How Much I Love Her" and "Will We Be Blessed Someday" (These Are the New Good Times, was, after all, recorded in a church in Minnesota). Through it all, DeRosa's songwriting blurs the line between urban and rural. "Aura Lee," a track originally by Aarktica, gets a reworking here and is successfully altered from blissed-out ambient to tender folk, while bridging each of DeRosa's projects together.

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