Published Feb 18, 2015"We started off in darkness / We ended off in light / We suffered for our art along the way," sings veteran singer-songwriter Michael Feuerstack on his astonishing new record, The Forgettable Truth. This is the Moncton-born, Montreal-based musician's third album in less than three years, but feels very much like a collection of songs that have been steadily evolving for years.
Feuerstack is one of this country's most talented songwriters. A staple on the Canadian music scene for 20 years, he shed his Snailhouse alias in 2013 to release Tambourine Death Bed, to critical acclaim. He followed that up in 2014 with the superb Singer Songer, for which he wrote the lyrics and then enlisted his friends to sing them.
This time around, the songs are decidedly his own. "All my life / I wanted more / Now I know / I have it all," declares the musician in what might be one of the least elusive lyrics on the album ("I Wanted More"). Feuerstack demonstrates his usual commitment to introspective songwriting on a dozen tracks that seemingly operate in three dimensions. He inverts concepts of time, viewpoint and conventional wisdom like an architect or engineer might re-arrange blocks to re-distribute weight.
He counterbalances disillusionment with self-awareness, disappointment with hard-won insight and anger with restraint. And there's plenty of sweetness here, too. Feuerstack draws your gaze in every direction and creates, through his writing, a depth of perception that can be disquieting and consoling, sad and happy, always slightly out of one's cognitive grasp: "Standing in a snow bank / He's looking at the moon / Listen closely is he howling? / Or just whistling a tune?" ("Clackity Clack").
Feuerstack builds bridges between his past and present work through the recording process, and what he's achieved here is a lounge-y, borderline '70s vibe that swings effortlessly from upbeat to sleepy and organizes an emotionally diverse record around a cohesive, sumptuous groove. Recorded at the musician's house and at Montreal's Hotel2Tango, the album features keyboardist Pietro Amato (Bell Orchestre, the Luyas), drummer Mike Belyea (Jenn Grant) and bassist Peter Xirogiannis.
Sebastian Chow's strings, along with Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream) and Nick Cobham (Olympic Symphonium) on backing vocals, elevate tracks like "Receiver," "Glacier Love" and "Monrovia" to somewhere gorgeous and sublime. The Forgettable Truth is one of those records you'll end up listening to on repeat all night and into tomorrow. (Forward Music Group)