October arrived with an autumn treat, the fresh out the oven Thawing Dawn by A. Savage (Parquet Courts frontman Andrew Savage). An unexpected gem crafted with songs about self-reflection and loneliness, made for those who can embrace the gentle sound of wind chimes at dusk and the often uncomfortable feeling of being in love.
The nuances of Thawing Dawn are as diverse as the American Frontier. That sunset feeling you get at the beginning of the record with “Buffalo Calf Road” it’s quickly shadowed by the deep emotion of “Wild, Wild, Wild, Horses” a confessional song where you can almost hear the fog unfolding from outside your window. Heartfelt lyrics of introspection blend exquisitely with the steady sound of a haunting church organ.
Clever and melancholic, the record is a sign of maturity from Savage offer. Just like in a good old Jonathan Richman song, the loose sequence of words in “Eyeballs” give you a little glimpse inside the lyrical wit of this young author—and it’s colorful, like a kiddie pool ball pit. This is the only track with a playful upbeat feel in it, but it’s still a song of loss and longing, “if I showed you my eyeballs maybe you could see that I’ve been hurting inside.”
The heavy use of pedal steel guitar might give this album a country feel, but I think the strong narrative style is the real highlight here. However, Savage takes a noisy detour in “What Do I Do” where he appears to be at the edge of a new awakening. He sings “if I have no garden, then I’ll cry till one grows” while the tune slowly falls into a dark place of internal struggle and genuine confusion. The song becomes a beautiful mess full of anxiety that works perfectly as a centerpiece for this album.
A. Savage delivers a body of work he probably couldn’t fit anywhere else, given the punk-rock nature of his band, but still a solid debut that stands amongst the best albums of the year.
A. Savage plays Murmrr Ballroom Saturday November 11, tickets and details here.