Written and recorded between his other major projects, S.G. Carlson’s self-titled debut is a confident and cozy collection of lightly strummed internal monologues and urban observations. Released shortly after the end of winter, Carlson’s scattered thoughts and subtle melodies come off like the restless to-do list of someone who has spent the last few months traversing a snow covered city between trips to the library and to the next cup of tea.
At the time of it’s creation, Carlson claims he became inspired by “little human things” like disorganization and destructively wasting precious time. On openers “Pulp” and “In Search Of Lost Time”, Carlson finds himself stuck inside searching between out of order books, lost ambition, and chasing after some ineffable answer to boredom. Later, “The Narcissist” and “How I Got Fat While Living Skinny” inject a lively realization of self-centeredness and betrayal, the latter’s upbeat new awareness sounding like a short glimmer of sunnier weather and happier times to come.
Unlike the heavily layered textures of his work in Ports of Spain or the hot rod fuzz of the more recent Laundry Day songs, Carlson’s indie rock arrangements are more restrained and soft spoken. As this album is his first project that he composed entirely without any significant collaborators, there is a refined control to these songs rather than the desire to capture a live bands’ energy. The acoustic strums are nicely complemented with mid-volume electric riffs, and occasionally a warm key tone will blanket the songs with comfort. While his songs can have a literary wordiness to them, his relaxed delivery makes them more easily appreciated. The songs are catchy, but never go full pop, which totally works considering its introspective nature. On this record, Carlson spent a season of searching for answers and lost time, it will be interesting to see how he can take what he has found back to his other projects.
Listen to S.G. Carlson’s Self-Titled below: