Published Jan 27, 2017Recording in moody old London, England and under the gaze of producer of Bernard Butler has focused the heartbroken balladry of San Franciscan Mark Eitzel. Aside from production, Butler, formerly of Suede, contributes guitar, bass and keyboards, giving Eitzel's songs an extra bit of lift into the rain-swept UK skies.
Many tracks capture the sad, late-night boozy magic that made American Music Club a favourite for melancholy listeners. Other standouts, like "An Angel's Wing Brushed the Penny Slots," borrow a little samba shuffle from Antonio Carlos Jobim, if he had recorded songs about death in Las Vegas. Expanded arrangements for strings and voice on tracks like "An Answer" and "La Llorna" suggest a ghostly link between Eitzel and Nelson Riddle-era Sinatra.
There are a few key places where Butler's guitar channels the jagged tension of Eitzel's AMC partner Vudi, keeping the album from rocking itself to sleep. But there is power even in the quietest moments, such as the sad story of co-dependence in "Nothing and Everything." Hey Mr. Ferryman has all the mastery you'd expect from someone ten solo albums deep, and more fresh energy than you even hoped for. (Merge)