As a label, Sacred Bones seems to revel in a certain level of darkness. Not the evil kind of darkness, per se, but more the kind of darkness that settles in the soul. Embodying this concept, Case Studies (the solo project of songwriter Jesse Lortz) returns with This Is Another Life, an album of shadowy folk that takes listeners on a wandering journey through the more melancholic side of the human experience. The most noticeable change from Lortz's first outing as Case Studies, The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night, is the production. Where his previous outing was recorded in a cabin in Montana, This Is Another Life was brought to life in an analog studio in Oakland, California, giving the album a greater feeling of richness and depth that serves as the perfect counterbalance to its gloominess. In addition, unlike its predecessor, This Is Another Light seems to have room for the occasional ray of sunshine to penetrate its overcast atmosphere, with songs like "Driving East, and Through Her" feeling more reminiscent of the countrified poetics of Silver Jews than the brooding Leonard Cohen vibe that crops up in songs like "In a Suit Made of Ash." All told, it's the evolution that is beautifully executed, showing off Lortz's talents as an affective and versatile songwriter who is able to imbue his songs with a sadness that goes deeper than the melody and sits in the very marrow of the song, making it a standout record from a label whose roster is continuously knocking it out of the park.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney