Evening Hymns Spirit Guides

On his debut record as Evening Hymns, Peterborough, ON's Jonas Bonnetta harkens back to singer-songwriters of the early '70s, evenly weaving narratives together in songs that operate well outside of populist frameworks. Few real hooks rest within Spirit Guides, a sprawling, contemporary folk record that possesses a temporal angst. As such, any visceral connection to Bonnetta's expression is dictated by how much emotional engagement one can muster with his shifting, moody songs. There's a ragged glory to the layered progression of "Dead Deer," which begins with a folk shuffle before vocal punctuations and sweeping strings lift its wings. The whole of "Mtn. Song" simmers, promising a climax that never arrives, but the inkling is enough. On songs like "Broken Rifle," Evening Hymns sounds like a lo-fi Jackson Browne, armed with abstracted personal tales that pulse with heart and soul. (Out of this Spark)