Doug Paisley

Golden Embers

BY Mike SauvePublished Apr 18, 2012

Connoisseurs and existing fans will welcome another Doug Paisley effort, which rewards close attention and repeat listening, but this dirge-y five-song EP won't do much to popularize him in his native Canada, given that it isn't even being distributed here. Earlier versions of three of the songs were released during Paisley's stint opening for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, as one half of Dark Hand and Lamplight. "City Lights" leads off and is a stately, warm ballad with a swelling chorus that's more satisfying than all but the best songs on Constant Companion. Leslie Feist again lends her star power to the project and although she might not always be the best harmonic match for Paisley's tenor voice, she and Paisley shine with an equal brightness on "City Lights." Slightly menacing mandolin, guitar and piano on "Two Like Us" collude to create a dark bluegrass feel, which helps diversify a dynamic that can become, to quote Paisley from a recent Toronto appearance, "a little Zolofty." To this end, the quicker tempo of "Bats" provides a nice lift. That track also best represents what's becoming trademark Paisley: alternating effortlessly between wry, squint-eyed melancholy and Will Oldham-esque odes to joy.
(No Quarter)

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