William Tyler – Impossible Truth

But regardless of who, why or how; the main thing is that Impossible Truth is one of the records of the year, one of those surprises that no-one saw coming.

(Merge Records) http://www.konkurrent.nl

This is a beautiful listen and proof that sometimes (just sometimes) pure musical, technical virtuosity can carry the day over all other considerations. Apparently this lad is very young and stuck out in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee. And he’s slightly pissed off. Or so it would seem as there is some kind of theme running through the record that is about moral and social decay out in the sticks: the titles Hotel Catatonia and Cadillac Desert do hint that there’s trouble at t’mill. But to be honest it’s not that easy to mull over rural decline much when you are confronted with such a set of beautiful instrumentals.

I can guarantee you will end up dreamily staring out of windows when confronted with Country of Illusion or the brilliant demonstration of talent in We Can’t Go Home Again or  I could be crass and say Tyler’s an American take on what James Blackshaw has been doing this past decade or so: there’s the same incredible playing on display (the patterns that both use are often crystalline, tessellate, linear; and infused with a sort of bittersweet melancholy) and Tyler could be seen to have the same sort of rural, classic alt-folk agenda that Blackshaw demonstrates, with the Englishman’s perceptible nods to Drake, Jansch or Thompson being mirrored by Taylor drawing on elements of bluegrass and old American folk-pop with a conscience, (somehow I just kept thinking of Joni Mitchell’s work whilst listening to Hotel Catatonia.)

But of course, they are from different continents, there are huge differences, Tyler’s stuff is much dryer, dronier, maybe more bombastic and well, very American and more gothic in places. Things like The Geography of Nowhere and Cadillac Desert are huge dry soundscapes, simmering with heat and often barren; the picking technique Taylor uses often effective in creating a dusty, dry-mouthed feel.   

But regardless of who, why or how; the main thing is that Impossible Truth is one of the records of the year, one of those surprises that no-one saw coming. One of those peeps round the twist that furthers your appreciation of the ever giving gift that is music. Be prepared to be stuck in your chair whilst listening in to this, you really can’t escape its bucolic charms. Nor would you want to.