On Music: Pigrow! by Luke Carr

On Music: Pigrow!

Standing behind the counter at his day job, the force of Luke Carr’s stare makes customers fidget when they ask him questions. It’s the stare of somebody who has wandered far across the wasteland and returned changed. Carr brings the same intensity to Pigrow!, his debut album released in late February.

Pigrow! by Luke Carr

Pigrow! by Luke Carr. Album cover by Alex Neville

Described by Carr as a 17 minute mini-epic, the three acts of Pigrow! range from minimalist voice and guitar interludes to fully realized rock themes. Known for his one-man-band live show, Carr stays true to his style with looped in live instruments played by him fleshing out his highly original sound. With the same precision that he used to blend and balance the various instruments, the melodies and themes are woven into a single tapestry so that each track becomes inseparable from the ones before and after it.

Throughout “Dumb,” the album’s opening act, Carr’s voice rises and falls around the guitar’s simple melody like a wave lapping against a deserted shoreline. It’s a tranquil but lonely sound revisited several times. Like ripples in a reflecting pool, the simple lyrics, “I tried so hard she fell away / I’ll try again another day” fill listeners with the artist’s wistfulness and leaves them completely vulnerable to the sudden storm that explodes around them.

In two tracks of the second act, “d’Artagnan, Use Purple,” the rock motifs are fully realized. Their accessibility invite the listeners in, but they never become simplified or repetitive enough to indulge listeners with lazy familiarity of a pop song.

The final act, “Dayflower,” brings together the minimalistic acoustic themes of the first act with the rich rock introduced in the second to end the album both where it began and some place new. It’s a return to the musical premise and the fulfillment of that premise’s potential.

According to Carr, the word Pigrow! refers to a “powerful shade of teal that I found in some flowers one night… That is really what the album is about.” Due to Carr’s mostly solo performance—except on two tracks where John Dieterich, Carr’s co-producer plays the dobro and synthesizer—and the lack of any other voice, Pigrow! sounds like a post-apocalyptic Swann’s Way: a lone voice fills the dark void singing a story from memories triggered by a petal, a flower, a color. It’s eerie and beautiful, experimental and scavenged, and ultimately, a sublime journey for both the artist and the listeners.

This excellent postpunk album deserves to be listened on a dark night with a rising moon and a soft breeze shaking the branches. But “Dumb” can be heard now on Carr’s Bandcamp page.

 

Joseph Thompson’s work has appeared in several publications including Foreword Reviews, Greenman Reviews, and Aphelion Webzine.

Pigrow!
Luke Carr
Produced by Luke Carr and John Dieterich (Febrary 2013)
Album art by Alex Neville



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