Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Album Review: Tyler Lyle - Expatriates

On his 5 track Album "Expatriates",Tyler Lyle's folk songs feel  like true life stories hidden inside these exquisite  fractured fables. Lyle's often forlorn voice can rip your heart out. There is an earnest warm quality to his tone. There is no over wrought or over melodramatic performance. It just feels so real and kind of conversational (in a way) like he is spilling his guts over beers in the solitude of a nearly empty bar. Lyrically, he has a flair for references in history and even mythology but it is the darkness underneath some of his words that give these folk / indie country songs emotional gravitas. In Medusa he sings: "Don't be afraid of the blood and gore... Don't be afraid of the devil on the threshing floor cause there's a power in your bones that out-consumes War and Sex and God and You." in Rodanthe, a pretty love song (or love lost song) were amidst plaintive pedal steel guitar he sings: "Your daddy chased me round the water said "what are you doing with my daughter"... I said"I'm just doing what the bad boys do, sir didn't you used to want to be a bad boy too."  

The perfectly simple productions work in every way. You can feel the plucking banjo, lazy drum beat of a porch performance in Werewolf where Tyler trades confessions with a sweet female vocalist, "And some days I am a mother fucking werewolf... I am a cannibal that eats himself alive."  Of all the lovely songs on Expatriates, maybe the clear standout is Ithaca, a measured stirring 12 minute tribute to wanderlust full of dreams, albeit tattered ones. The spartan production, lullaby acoustic cadence, swelling musical and vocal orchestration is beautifully moving as is Expatriates itself. This is an album that you will come back to again and again like fond bittersweet memories. Lose yourself in its embrace.
Robb Donker  


1 comment:

  1. Bravo American Pancake great review of this extraordinary American artist. Tyler Lyle gives us a reason to believe in ourselves again. With all the distractions and banalities of modern culture there is an introspective chord resonating in us collectively as we navigate our course. Tyler Lyle gives us a soundtrack of substance musically nutritious like pancakes for our souls.