In many ways, the lonely white guy strumming a guitar over spare arrangements has become the Boy Band craze of our time. Sure, there isn’t a lot of money and sold out arenas in that particular sonic, but just as the Backstreet Boys had a slew of clones back then, Bon Iver has his imitators now. It’s amongst this proliferation of indie that Johannes Mayer, the man behind the Late Call moniker, finds himself. He’s an undoubtedly talented singer/songwriter, with a voice that’s three parts Chris Martin and one part Jannis Makrigiannis (of Coldplay and Choir of Young Believers fame, respectively). Everything on his third LP, Pale Morning Light, would find a comfortable, albeit overfamiliar, home in an indie connoisseur’s vinyl record stack. Despite the beauty of a few of these songs (“No Easy Way Out” and “Heavy Heart” being the best of a lot), as a whole, the album is near indistinguishable from any other like-minded LP you’d pull from a record store shelf. As great of a track as “No Easy Way Out” is, its chord progression bears a marked similarity to Bon Iver’s “Towers”.
Lyrically, heavy emphasis is on naturalistic imagery which then ties to emotional states; musically, organic instrumentation is at the forefront. If this is bringing to mind any of the other introspective, folky indie albums you’ve ever heard, you’re probably dead on. Still, despite the generic sound that plagues Pale Morning Light, it can be a pleasant, even beautiful listen in its own way.
// Notes from the Road
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