Of course, it goes without saying that Chesnutt's distinctive country twang informs throughout
Vic Chesnutt – North Star Deserter
A beautiful LP, but that should come as no surprise. After a quiet beginning with Warm, North Star Deserter expands into a lush and very approachable piece of work, sometimes kicking off to spectacular effect as in Everything I Say, (replete with a home grown gospel choir). Of course, it goes without saying that Chesnutt's distinctive country twang informs throughout.
There are moments where everything drifts by in a pleasant bucolic haze, sonically at least, for songs like Rustic City Fathers, Wallace Stevens and You Are Never Alone do hint at something more disturbing, for all their quiet beauty. It's not all sinister balladry though. Two eight minute tracks are the cornerstones of North Star Deserter, firstly the dominating, echoing guitar (and the stark sound-scape it creates) of Splendid is offset by a beautiful repeat chorus, whereas - after a set of radio samples introduces us - Debriefing kicks off in fine style with a raucous guitar work out. That the song itself is at odds with this racket - you get the verses blatantly interrupting more atonal guitar punishment - is actually to its benefit.
Things quieten down again for the last two tracks; Marathon and Rattle, though Marathon is as spooky a comedown as you could wish for, the muted guitar effects setting a chill down this listener's spine.
Tremendous stuff and well worth the investment.
Words: Richard Foster.