“How to Test the Depth of a Well” is a creaky, buzzing art/folk ballad from Benjamin Shaw’s captivating new record There’s Always Hope, There’s Always Cabernet. True story – the other night I had the album on as I was playing with my daughters and one of them asked if there were ghosts in the house. I said “No, of course not. Why would you ask that?” She said, “This music makes me think of ghosts.” She’ll be 3 in a few weeks. Not to be all “my kids say the darndest things” or whatever, but I thought that was worth mentioning – there’s definitely something sort of creepy about these songs, like they’re floating in from some distant, haunted dimension. Most of the songs are built on simple piano and/or acoustic guitar parts and Shaw’s weary vocals, but are usually layered with static or gently unsettling noises that create a sense of complete uneasiness. For the most part they edge along at impossibly slow paces and a few get quite noisy (“Somewhere over the M6”, one of the better songs here, accomplishes both with
frightening wonderful results). Think Sparklehorse’s quieter, spaced-out folk songs and you may have a sense of what’s happening here. There hasn’t been a flood of really great new full lengths to begin 2012, but this is easily the best one I’ve heard yet. Highly recommended.
(from There’s Always Hope, There’s Always Cabernet. Buy here)