Tear in the Sun, the clattering, droning new album from Connor Bell’s musical brainchild Shedding, is often maddening, but in an affecting way. Bell’s use of harmonium, alongside other impressive atmospherics, builds a convincing wall of impenetrable sound. That closed-off vibe is fitting for an album about withdrawal from the world. Told in six expansive pieces, the music itself contains a monolithic dread that somehow both soars and rumbles. The record is often undone, though, by a new development in Shedding’s sound. Bell sings for the first time here, and his plainspoken voice just doesn’t match up to the heft of the music behind it. He cuts off words, rather than drawing them out, and even when he shrouds them in effect, they still sound a bit thin. Still, as a whole, Tear in the Sun is the kind of album that slowly gets under your skin. It just might dig in deeper and stay a bit longer if that harmonium got top billing over Bell’s voice. It’s good he’s continued to branch out—that’s what makes him an artist worth keeping an eye on—but this experiment didn’t work quite as well as some of his past endeavors.
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// Notes from the Road
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