The latest LP from the doom-mongers at Sargent House (Chelsea Wolfe, Boris) comes courtesy of Young Widows frontman Ewan Patterson in his Jaye Jayle guise. His powerfully charismatic performances on No Trail And Other Unholy Paths recall Tom Waits as well as Nick Cave at his most blood-and-thunder. Tracks like ‘Ode To Betsy’ would have had no problem slotting into Cave classics like Let Love In.
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Hot off of a recent compilation album celebrating years wallowed and posts punked, Young Widows alum Ewan Patterson picks himself a new, mythical name to be making his music under. By giving him the space to try out these new ideas, Sargent House run the risk of being absorbed by Sacred Bones, offering a winningly pessimistic record of gothic experiments. Jaye Jayle goes deeper into the woods, dives headfirst through the cobwebs, blindly submits to the darkness.
Records of suffering and wallowing like this can often stagnate on their path to ruin, but Patterson’s songwriting feels energetic even at its slowest sleuth. “No Trail: Path One” is a gorgeous overture of piano resting a bad angel on the shoulder of Bing & Ruth; its follow-up part is something like Wrekmeister Harmonies re-scoring the opening theme tune to Friday Night Lights, its crystalline guitar buried under rubble and rumination. Driven by percussion as even and precise as two sides of train track, “Ode to Betsy” steps back and makes panorama of its sludgy guitar tone.
The whole thing feels quite breathless, Patterson’s incisive mash-up of Nick Cave naysaying, vampiric synthwork, doomy guitars and dulcet duets creating a feeling not dissimilar from the best horror movies: unstopping, his music lives inside its fear.
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