New England (KLP148)
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Jason Anderson returns with a studio collaboration with Phil Elvrum of the Microphones/Mount Eerie. New England glows with honest songs and the joy of working with friends. K compatriots Calvin Johnson, Khaela Maricich of the Blow, Adam Forkner of Yume Bitsu/[[VVRRSNN]]/White Rainbow, Mirah and Elvrum all contribute to the music and the loose, inspired arrangements. After completely finishing an album in 2002 Anderson decided to return to the studio in the summer of 2003 and re-record the best songs from his last year of performing. The result is Jason at his finest: songs with an evolved writing style and obvious maturity. The off-the-cuff, "first take" sessions were so transcendent that Phil even donated a new Mount Eerie song, "Thanksgiving", to the project, as it was recorded with the same pick-up band and was in line with the album's vision and emotional timbre.
"You Fall" is an inspired duet between Anderson and Elvrum, their voices intertwining through the melancholy anthem's sublime production. The song flows seamlessly into "A Book Laid On Its Binding"--a song written by Jason's good friend and tour mate Joe Knapp, of Omaha's Son, Ambulance. It consists of nothing more than piano, Jason, and the golden, heartbreaking voice of Mirah. The overall effect of 'New England' is such that one feels as though Anderson is sitting in the same room performing. This feeling is most evident in the largely improvised, "bar-band" arrangements, most notably on--the ghostly, "Pen Pals"--and "Hold On", which builds to a moving, gospel-like chorus. And this is to say nothing of the drunken, uplifting finale of "Christmas", or--maybe Anderson's best song--"I Want My Summer Back".