Over my few years writing for The Tripwire, I've made my love of interesting folk-pop well known through my frequent bits about Adem Ilhan. Unique instrumentation, well-written songs and a distinctive voice are all things that I appreciate, which can also be found on the latest full-length from Brooklyn's Luke Temple. Just as Adem did with Homesongs, Temple crafted and recorded the songs found on Snowbeast in his home. Recorded on an old eight-track in his bedroom, the album is charming, warm and a bit fragile.
Temple caught the ear of many a music fan with his debut album, Hold A Match For A Gasoline World, so he had a bit of work ahead of him for the proper follow-up. Snowbeast shows an interesting musical progression for him, offering up a delightfully quirky batch of material. He begins with "Saturday People," immediately showcasing his impressive falsetto vocals. At first it is fairly straight forward, with a military snare and the plucking of a banjo. He keeps it interesting by constantly tossing in different musical sections, tossing in bits of keys, time changes, vocal harmonies, all keeping the listener on their toes. This is unclassifiable and totally fascinating.
"The Owl Song" is an interesting mix of sonic experiments, with different textures colliding throughout this melancholic track. The synth bass line is distorted, which contrasts with the crystal clear percussion that drives the song along. He tosses in other melodic synth lines throughout, sounding like an odd collaboration between Radiohead and Bjork. It is fairly simple, yet the little bits and pieces are quite amazing.
The tempo picks up with "Time Rolls A Hill," marking the return of the banjo, mixed with twinkling piano moments and fun electro noises. While the song (as they all do on this album) remains somewhat minimal, the interesting arrangements do just what they're supposed to do - support Temple's words and vocals. This segues nicely into "Where Is Away," keeping the banjo vibe rolling but adding in much more lush moments of keyboards. This is a sprawling track, showing that sometimes minimalism offers up even greater rewards than over-produced, monstrous tracks offered up by other artists.
Luke Temple's Snowbeast is a great slice of experimental folk pop. Quirky songs, random instrumentation and bits of electronica all work seamlessly together to make for a very enjoyable listen. This has made for the perfect soundtrack to the endless rainy days here in Austin.