Chris Cohen has played with a series of high-profile indie acts, including Haunted Graffiti,Cass McCombs, and Deerhoof, and Overgrown Path, his first solo album, has the unified feel of a stash of songs that he’s been sitting on for years. Sunlit, pastoral, and serenely strange, it feels like something unearthed by an enterprising reissue label like Light in the Attic, rather than a brand-new record on Captured Tracks. It’s a gentle listen– the snare drum doesn’t receive a lot of attention, and is tapped rather than struck when it does. The pace never ventures beyond mid tempo. But as a whole, it glows with easy comfort, and its wistfulness deepens with repeated listens.
Like his former bandleader Ariel Pink, Cohen bends the reality of his pop-culture references so that his music both begs for and resists carbon-dating. Overgrown Path is pleasingly blurry on just where and when it’s supposed to feel beamed from: Does it feel like a singer-songwriter record from the 1970s? Some lost psychedelic-era curiosity? Village Green-eraKinks? A forgotten 1980s jangle-rock band? At various points, I felt certain of each. But unlike Pink, Cohen isn’t out to discomfort or unsettle you: He mostly just wants to build a soothing space away from the world for a while, a place where head can breathe and his loneliness can find some room to expand. The time-warp in his music is just a way to cover his tracks.
In fact, Overgrown Path is made of only comforting sounds: cracked, spidery guitars, grand pianos, reverb haze, and Cohen’s little Ray Davies croon. Cohen’s voice is frail, but uncommonly beautiful, and capable of reaching into a weightless falsetto. The album’s title, which suggests cozy remoteness, a time-neglected spot worth rediscovering, strongly reinforces this vibe: This is music to get lost to. Listening to its nine songs on repeat, I was strongly hit with the urge to pad around my home in socks, maybe brew some tea. – Pitchfork
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Tracklist: Monad / Solitude / Caller No. 99 / Rollercoater Rider / Heart Beat / Optimist High / Inside A Seashell / Don’t Look Today / Open Theme
Captured Tracks CT1263LP