Published Jun 01, 2014Jonah Tolchin's debut album, Clover Lane, belongs in the canon of recently released neo-folk classics. It comes as no surprise that one of the genre's best songwriters, John McCauley (Deer Tick), is featured on the album. Similar to McCauley, Tolchin's voice is unorthodox and transcendental, surpassing the limits of ordinary expression by virtue of an intangible and emotional vocal quality.
Front to back, Tolchin combines and repurposes genres to form unique pieces of Americana on Clover Lane. From the southern rock-inspired palm-muted riffs on "Hybrid Automobile" to the steel-scratch, sax-backed "Hey Baby Blues," Tolchin leaves no countryside tone stone unturned. The New Jersey native is especially adept at writing down-tempo love songs, evidenced by the mournfully melodic folk tune "Low Life" is improved by distant guitar accents and McCauley harmonies; it's appropriate that Tolchin's best possible vocal partner would be a musician with a voice as positively unconventional as his. Tolchin's remarkably insightful song writing is further showcased on "Diamond Mind," "Motel #9" and perhaps the most talent-indicative, "I'll Be Gone."
Clover Lane is an ostensibly multi-genre album with a heart of folky gold. Tolchin's songs are founded on a folk cornerstone and are built upon by intervening inspirations. Tolchin does not deviate from his trade, and the record is solidified by his understanding of the craft. (Yep Roc)