In his 2016 solo debut Second Hand War, Vinyl Floor singer Thomas Charlie Pedersen laid out a blueprint for making smashingly good, unpretentious folk music that didn’t need a bit sonic boost from the soundboard to make a cratering impression with listeners, and in his latest release, the powerful Daylight Saving Hours, he takes that blueprint and formulates a stately follow-up LP worthy of bearing his name. Daylight Saving Hours gets our attention right out of the gate with “To a First Love” and doesn’t stop the deluge of anti-decadent elegance through thirteen additionally intriguing songs, all of which are more than worth your time this February.
There’s a lot of contrast comprising the melodies in “The Freewheeler,” “Faithful Mistress,” “Stay True,” “Moveables” and “Sad to See You Go” that isn’t found in more straightforward numbers like “Must Be The World,” “Blood Moon” and “The Witty Moniker,” but personally I found the diversity of the content in this disc to be one of its most compelling attributes. For being as black and white an album as it is, Daylight Saving Hours doesn’t feel minimalist; actually, I would say that it has a grand warmth that is often absent from more elaborately-stylized LPs.
It would be really interesting to hear how Pedersen would approach “The Meriwether Pull,” “The World is Not Your Oyster” and “Green Plateau” in a live setting, almost solely because of how flexible each of these compositions are to begin with. There’s a lot of different ways that he could break them down for the audience in a small-scale venue (which, debatably, is where this material would be most in its element), and even if it were to be totally removed from the style he presents them in here, my gut tells me they would retain the same melodic charms that make them such interesting listens in this capacity.
The music video for “Must Be The World” is as simplistic as Daylight Saving Hours itself is, but this doesn’t leave me wanting for more when taking it in. Although it doesn’t have any of the props nor the sonic bells and whistles many videos would, its music is made the star of the show all the more, which just can’t be said about the bulk of the media I’ve reviewed in the year 2020. Thomas Charlie Pedersen wants us to value his medium as much as we do, and in steering clear of predictability, he meets his goal flawlessly in this release.
2020 is still quite young, and while I haven’t heard a lot of new records from the alternative folk underground yet, this is easily one of the best LPs I’ve listened to so far of any genre. Pedersen assumes his role as one of the more communicative singer/songwriters in his scene here, and though he’s proven himself to be quite the poetic composer in the past, he has got a lot to be proud of in this latest set of songs. He’s getting off on the right foot this year, and it would shock me if I were the only critic noting as much.
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