Pain Is A Reliable Signal draws deeply from the medical journey Sam Jacobs and his family have been thrust into the last few years. Sam enlisted friend, acclaimed songwriter and producer Paul Brill, to guide and shape the recording. Together they put together a stellar band of musicians recorded by engineer Robert L. Smith (David Bowie). The album features performances by Rob Burger, (Iron and Wine) Bill Dobrow (Sean Lennon), Amber Rubarth, Antoine Silverman, Anja Wood, Matt Ray, Dan Levine and others. Jacobs and Brill gathered these musicians to create a sound they've dubbed 'landscape pop' that has incredibly vivid moments filled with small fragments of melody and emotion.
I do believe that the minimalist roots sound is on its way back in. This is the tenth (or twentieth?) such disc I've heard recently. Maybe that's why the New Yorker did a profile of Wil Oldham. I dunno.
It's so easy to screw up this sound. There's really nothing to save bad songs from themselves. Sparse arrangements and relatively spartan recording techniques don't leave a lot of room for hiding. The Flying Change has the songs to make this sound sing.
And there are just enough brighteners to keep things lively. These guys aren't slavishly devoted to some false "real" sonic ideal. They're trying to make good music. Where the songs demands just a bit more, the Flying Change makes sure to use that little bit.
An album that enchants more and more as it rolls along. I really like the way these folks put together their songs. There's a sweet off-handed feel that lends an immediate intimacy. Watch out--you just might fall in love. -- Jon Worley, aidabet.com
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