Album Review

Everyone Needs Something To Hold On To

Everyone Needs Something To Hold On To

by Timothy Blackman


Home Alone Music
9 / 10
17th January 2012

Reviewed by Leslie Henkel


With infantry-style drumming and a strongly plucked cello, Everyone Needs Something to Hold On To gallops out the gate astride “A Dance,” a soaring piano and trumpet-lead instrumental that serves as a brief, but enticing march into an album that feels cinematically sunset-hued from beginning to end.

The second song, “I Can't Blame You,” smarts of lush, Nick Drake-ian sentiment and melody, betraying a fragility that strikes the listener as sincere, unaffected, and effortlessly endearing, with a finely bruised vocal quality reminiscent of early Will Oldham mixed with early Conner Oberst. Each subsequent song, though varied in tempo and emotional nuance, works to further the feeling of a penultimate curtain drop upon a promising, but ultimately doomed performance. “Erosion” uses short, swift cello notes to create tension at the beginning of the song, then builds with strong, steady drumming to tell the story of this estranged loner, finally easing a bit into the refrain: “I am not a wealthy man, but I'll protect you from the sun / I am not a strong man, but I'll protect you from erosion,” yet never fully lets go of it's strained, uneasy undercurrent of emotion.

Be warned, this is not the record to put on after a messy break-up — unless you're like me, and take solace in the sadnesses of unknown artists. In the case of the latter, you'll be richly and sadistically rewarded, as love, loss, death, erosion and decomposition are the themes of the day. “Leaves,” in particular, will delight your old goth soul with lines such as, “You carry on into the sun, and I’ll carry on into the soil, where the leaves decompose, where the bodies were buried.” 

Like the lyrics, the music throughout the album is painfully lovely, poised just on the silver lining of the metaphorical stormcloud. Blackman’s raw, sensitive vocals flutter over glowing compositions of bittersweet cello, jingling mandolin, crisp drums, soft, bright guitar, trembling keys and a melancholic, yet oddly uplifting trumpet. There is hope to be found here, lessons to be learned, and beauty to look forward to. In short, the album gives you the sense that, however wounded, Blackman is not fated to off himself—so breath a sigh of relief, curl up in your darkened room, and listen to the album on repeat with a bottle of red.






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