Warm Gold

Nathan Carter's songs fee like confessional hymns, not delivered in the dark wood booth of church but on a late afternoon riverbank where the sun makes bright shingles across the water. The former Missoulian and sole musician behind Purrbot keeps this warm and golden tone consistent throughout the album, even when his lyrics suggest anxieties about self-worth and death.

I love the strangeness of the first track, "Underwater Hotel," when he sings: "We will watch the annual beaching of whales / Water red / President delegating each piece / To each peaceful place." And on "Go West," the last track, the mix of gold panning and seduction at the hot springs provides refreshing imagery. Between these bookends, the other songs flip-flop between stripped-down love letters and self-flagellation. These songs are sometimes unbearably earnest. The self-analyzing followed by self-affirmation starts feeling a bit like parody, or like a musical play about a guy who's obsessed with his brokenness.

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What makes this recording good is everything else. Carter's incorporation of synths, banjo, glockenspiel and violin adds intriguing detail to the canvas. His manner of dragging out the "o" so that it snags like homespun autotune, adds a fabulous pop affect to more traditional folk-y flavors.

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