Marc Gartman has made some powerful, stark, folk-ish music, under his own name and with Pale Horse and Rider. No Wait Wait is more of a rock band—with hooks, chords, and a punch—but within that scope they still leave room for the other style, thankfully, and for an eerie, shadowy sense of space. The dark About You is at its best when it mixes fragile country-rock in with the bigger pop-rock sound, which at is straightest can seem rather generic in their hands. The sullen-pop mode of the mid-album trio of “For What”, “Knight in Shining Armor”, and “How to Fake It” is the album’s most haunting section, and where its dominant lyrical theme is expressed most vividly. That theme is bitter heartbreak: this is a break-up album filled with fear, anger, sadness. It’s a tale of survival, a melancholy and angry one that keeps even murder around as an option. “I haven’t had a moment in days when I wasn’t in a rage,” Gartman sings at one point, in a pure-pop way that makes it all the more affecting—not theater but confession.
// Notes from the Road
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