Don Chambers’ “Disquietude”

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Available April 1, 2014

I must admit that I’ve been digging the more experimental direction that Don Chambers has been taking lately. The gruff voiced, heavy hitting oracle of Athens is known for his Tom Waits like voice and stomping rhythms, so it’s nice to hear some strangeness coming out in the form of more experimental mixing. Disquietude is the companion piece to Chambers’ last solo album, A Sudden Loss of Elevation. We’ve landed from that long fall into a world of swirling guitars and noise.

The guitar-heavy direction is immediately noticeable on “Ghost Light,” an atmospheric track that contains bare-boned percussion, Chambers’ voice up front in the mix, and a droning, painful guitar. You’d swear you’re watching the spirit of a long dead soldier trying to make sense of where he’s at and when realizing he’s dead, loses his mind and drags you down too. The last full minute is nothing but pure guitar feedback and is probably amazing to hear live. Turn off all the lights to listen to this one.

“Everything Will Last Forever” is a nice, quiet meditation reminiscent of the droning softness that marked R.E.M.’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Tinges of Chambers’ country/folk leanings remain on the track, hidden within layers of murky guitar. It’s times like these that Chambers’ voice and lyrical mastery shine; when he’s not shouting, Chambers’ has quite the crooner’s voice, thoughtful and trailing off into the music.

Overall, disquietude lives up to its name. The record is anxious and straining, full of doubt and little comfort. You’re not going to find easy singles here. It’s an album that requires a few listens to pick out a favorite track and even then, you’ll listen to it again and change your mind. Though nothing on disquietude is going to blow your mind, it’s a solid listen for this time of year when Winter refuses to go away and Spring seems so far away.

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