San Franciscan singer-guitarist Noah Georgeson is at the nexus of the "new wave" of folk-oriented sounds emanating from Britain and America he's produced Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart (and is in the latter's touring ensemble), along with Pentangle cofounder Bert Jansch's fine "comeback" set, The Black Swan. Georgeson's solo debut is likely to spur comparisons to the pensive Scott Walker or Leonard Cohen, with his haunted, deep-velvety, plainspoken delivery and wryly bitter lyrics. Sample song titles include "Priests of Cholera," and "Hand Me, Please, a City." Cheery stuff this ain't. Though sharing common ground with those gents, Georgeson recalls the cinematic Americana of Lee Hazlewood, spinning brooding panoramas with a unique mix of down-home and urbanity, set to stark acoustic guitar strumming and baroque, melodramatic orchestral embellishments. The main downside is the obliqueness of Shelter's melodies one is likely to recall the record's overall ambience rather than the songs themselves. Still, for solitary absorption and/or rumination, it gives good soundtrack.
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