This crossed my consciousness recently, quiet contemplations drifting by like daydreams, birds across a dreamy cloud-filled sky. Man Called War, brought into being by Boston-based singer-songwriter Rob Kelly, just released what appears to be their debut album, Naked Animals. This quietly compelling album centers around sometimes whispered, sometimes languid vocals and soft acoustic guitar, with touches of strings, other subtle instrumentation and mysterious spoken-word overlays that feel like the endless din of subconscious thoughts. It all creates a powerful hypnotic effect, like an aural black hole. These are contemplations about real-life situations with mythological metaphors and biblical overtones — modern tales through the gauzy perspective of folklore.
Man Called War cites influences as far-ranging as Gregory Alan Isakov, Frightened Rabbit, Nick Drake and The Avett Brothers. They previously released a 3-song demo in October of last year called The Eastern Seaboard Demo, so it seems to be quite early days yet. Looks like we’re off to a very nice start!
“Let your trembling tongue
form holy words.
Let his skin be a blank page
and write new scriptures.
Give up the ghost-
time don’t pay, she owes.”
I’ll leave you with Rob Kelly’s personal take on this auspicious debut — “The album is based off of something I heard once about life in your twenties, ‘I can never decide if I’m an absolutely awful person or the best person in the world.'”
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