Devotionals – Devotionals (Alive, 2010)
Two Gallants’ drummer Tyson Vogel shows off his skills as a guitarist with this mostly-instrumental solo debut. Unlike his group’s lo-fi electro-acoustic punk-folk, Vogel’s solo work is a great deal more meditative, shorn of Adam Stephens ragged, adrenaline-charged vocals and the crack and ringing of Vogel’s own drums and cymbals. His acoustic guitar, which suggests Will Ackerman and John Fahey, is joined by guest players on violin, cello and vibraphone, but it’s his own syncopated picking that gives the album its hypnotic core. The rare vocal of “Misericordia” arches into an anguished tone, but the words are stretched across the backing in exhaustion and listlessness. Vogel hangs the resonances of his guitar strings in the air, letting a note’s decay reveal textures not evident in the initial pluck. Anton Patzner does something similar with his violin on “Morning Due,” drawing the bow slowly and shading each note with the friction of horsehair rubbing steel. The album finds a few moments of discordance in its second half, with wordless voices giving way to a shouted crescendo on “Your Confused Beauty Upon My Cheek,” distorted piano and electric guitar chords on “Heart: The Inevitable Music Box,” and a sense of agitation opening “Buildings of Heart” that evolves into a more optimistic theme. If you have a favorite place to sit quietly and think, even if it’s just between your headphones while reclining on the couch, this album will provide interesting accompaniment to your brain’s pondering.