Monday, 11 April 2016

Single: Fog Lake - Rattlesnake

Photo: Amy Pelow



Fog Lake - Rattlesnake


- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: Already 5 albums and 4 years deep, seemingly indefatigable Newfoundland singer/songwriter Aaron Powell has just released standalone single 'Rattlesnake', under his moniker of Fog Lake. It’s acting as the lead in to the forthcoming as-yet-untitled LP, which is to be released later this year via Orchid Tapes. As a follow up question: how many albums have you released recently? Because if it’s less than six, you need to pull your shit together.

If you were to play a quick word association game about Fog Lake’s reference points, you’d probably end up with a list that read something like: intelligent, lyrical, folk, literate, acoustic, troubled, transcendent… It manages to create that basement 4-track feel of Elliott Smith’s early recordings, where the lo-fi elements actually contribute to rather than detract from the overall impact. The woozy haze of the song lives up to not only the band name, but also perfectly evokes the desperate self medication described in the lyrics. Powell has noted that the themes of the record are "how we medicate ourselves, and bad habits we all have to keep ourselves sane." And the song aims straight at the crux of the twin addictions of love and chemicals.

At the risk of hammering an influence home, Elliott Smith had a trick where he would sometimes just let an insidious melody roll way longer than it seemingly had the right to within his much loved pop-structures, like in 'Needle in the Hay'’s third verse where the palpable tension created by this stretching of form becomes almost unbearable despite relatively little dynamic shift. Without necessarily reaching or aiming for a crescendo, 'Rattlesnake' effortlessly accumulates weight, becoming a relentless snowball of verses piling on top of verses, intentionally devoid of the cathartic release of a chorus, until their cumulative impact is way greater than you could possibly anticipate - something quite special that hums around your system, sneaks past obvious points of entry and lodges itself firmly in your heart.



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