Review & Track Premiere: Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

[Click play above to stream ‘Waterbirth’ from Tony Reed’s Funeral Suit. Album is out Nov. 6 on Ripple Music. Says Reed, ‘Musically the genesis of “Waterbirth” came to me by accident. I was visiting a friend who had an old National M4 resonator that he was playing in a tuning I wasn’t familiar with (DGDGBD). He was playing it with a slide in a blues style. I asked him if I could borrow it for the night to write something in my style with that tuning. This is what I recorded that night. The song is about being hopelessly lost and turning to the one you love to help guide you home.’]

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In the context of this frenetic productivity, it’s somewhat astonishing that  College Essay Proofreader - If you need to know how to make a good essay, you have to learn this 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of unique essays & papers. Reed found the time to add nuances like the self-harmonies and the Mellotron early in and the dual-layers of strum in the final fadeout of the title-track of  http://nunaoil.gl/?creative-cursive-writing. admission college essay help Succeeding in college starts with your application package and asking for college admission essay help is a step in the and with our admissions essay help,personal statement, admission essay, application essay. Funeral Suit, or to tap into  CatStevens-meets-AlainJohannes vibes on the progressive, finger-plugged and richly melodic opener “Waterbirth.” There are a couple reworked Mos Generator songs in “Lonely One” — originally “Lonely One Kenobi” from 2012’s Nomads (review here), which began the band’s association with Ripple Music — and “Wicked Willow” from 2016’s Abyssinia (review here), as well as closer “Who Goes There,” which appeared as a two-parter on late-2019’s Spontaneous Combustions EP (review here), but even these are given due treatment rather than simply played in “unplugged” fashion. To wit, the impassioned vocal of “Lonely One” and layers of guitar that accompany, or the slow piano balladry that suddenly feels like such a natural context for “Wicked Willow” and the choral effect that acts as a culmination for the entirety of Funeral Suit at the end of “Who Goes There.” These moments balance intimacy and melodic grandeur, emotional expression and stylistic experimentation.

As those who follow Reed‘s work to some degree or other would have to expect, he delivers this material with a steady, masterful hand. His approach to melody is clean and clear, his playing is precise but organic, and across the ultra-manageable eight-song/34-minute span of Funeral Suit, he demonstrates an awareness of his audience not only through a customary lack of pretense or in the lyrics to “Lonely One” (“I can tell you right now, people…”) and “Funeral Suit” (“…Can I find worth in you and you and you?”), but also in the breadth of arrangements throughout. A crucial first clue of the diversity to come arrives with “Waterbirth,” which is played in a style unlike anything else on the album. It’s the shortest track at 3:07, and along with the charm of a subtle Voivod reference in the first verse, it brings a melodic wash worthy of its title, Reed joining himself in the chorus for an effect conveying depth and melancholy.

tony reed

There’s a turn just before the last minute that brings handclaps and a feel like languid gospel, but of course a return to the chorus finishes, the structure duly reinforced. Even so, the message to the listener that Funeral Suit is more than guy-and-a-guitar folk emulation is immediate, and by putting “Waterbirth” first and then following it with the more straight-ahead strum of “Moonlighting,” the aforementioned Mellotron on “Funeral Suit,” and the relatively serene amble of “Along the Way” on the record’s first side, Reed likewise frames the progressive reach of the album as a priority. Thus the mind of the audience is more open to whatever the subsequent tracks might bring, and because the material that follows asks relatively few indulgences, it’s that much easier to follow along where each piece leads. This is a skill born of experience, and it makes an essential contribution to the spirit of the album as a whole.

“Lonely One Kenobi” was a standout hook on Nomads, and there may be a bit of reorienting the listener happening as “Lonely One” — the title dropping the Star Wars reference that seemed to distract from the emotionally-fueled, frankly lonely lyrics — but whether or not one assumes a given listener taking on Funeral Suit is already familiar, its harder-edged strum and its soulful vocals find it serving as a memorable inclusion here as well. It is followed and complemented by “Wicked Willow,” which departs from guitar in classic side B fashion, taking its own familiar basis and from it bringing a new texture to Funeral Suit only previously hinted toward. Slow, mellow and wistful as only a slow piano can be, it’s about as stripped-down as Reed gets here, and as it inevitably would, it highlights the songcraft that underscores all of these pieces, new or old. The same applies to the subsequent and penultimate “Might Just…” which feels stylistically like a reset back to where the album was on side A circa “Moonlighting” or “Along the Way,” with doubled-vocals in the repeated-line chorus of “Rolling along…,” melodic and straightforward, short at 3:30 but enough to satisfy and do its job between “Wicked Willow” and “Who Goes There,” which is the longest inclusion at 5:37 as well as the already-noted finale of the record, encompassing and ready for judgment-free sing-alongs as it is.

A linear build, it holds a tension in the guitar of its first half, the title lyric delivered with due paranoia. A break after two verse/chorus cycles comes at 3:25 in, and from there, the song launches into its righteous capstone movement, not a departure from what’s come before throughout Funeral Suit, but an extension thereof that speaks to one more prevailing factor of Reed‘s work across the LP, which is the forward potential. Not that he doesn’t have plenty going on besides, but having so risen to the challenge of this first offering, as a fan (I also wrote the bio for the album, which I’ll note was uncompensated only because I knew I’d want to review it as well), one only hopes he’ll continue to explore outward from the already-broad reach he establishes here. If Funeral Suit is a one-off, fair enough, but what it conveys to the listener feels far more substantial.

Tony Reed, Funeral Suit (2020)

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