Death Vessel

Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us | Sub Pop
By RICHARD BECK  |  August 19, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
Joel Thibodeau — singer, songwriter, guitar player — has trouble with slow songs. They box in his melodies and strangle his instrumental momentum. But that’s my only criticism of Death Vessel’s second LP, which is otherwise an astonishing forward leap for this Brooklyn-based folk group. Thibodeau’s melodies, which have always been pretty, are now beautiful. The best of these opens “Bruno’s Torso,” where a long, easy vocal line thinks itself along, deepening its harmonic and emotional resonance at every step. It helps that Thibodeau’s falsetto is sort of miraculous: a strange, delicate instrument that demonstrates strength and something like sick fragility in equal measure. There is an almost unbearable tenderness to “Block My Eye,” “Jitterakadie,” and the album closer, “Belt of Foam,” which includes, of all things, an exquisitely calm saxophone part. Sparkling beauty and mortal unease go hand in hand throughout.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Joel Thibodeau, DEATH VESSEL
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