Monday, October 21, 2013

Gut Feeling: Jim Guthrie - Takes Time

Jim Guthrie – Takes Time
Static Clang, 2013

The title of Jim Guthrie’s latest album comes across like a tongue-in-cheek nod to Takes Time being his first album in ten years. Guthrie’s 2003 album Now, More Than Ever is still one of those albums I try to spread Johnny Appleseed style. It’s just so fucking good, and I can’t believe no one has ever heard it (outside of Canada, where it was nominated for a Juno award). Guthrie’s blend of folk and indie-pop makes for a supremely pleasant, life affirming sound. I loved (and still love) Now, More Than Ever’s lead-off track “Problems With Solutions” so much I used it as the name of my mini comic and first blog. Whenever I see a copy for two bucks on in some clearance section at some record store I buy it because I know I know someone who would appreciate Guthrie’s talents. His ability to write songs that are both lighthearted and buoyant yet also packed with considerable depth. And here I am, writing about an album that is ten years old like it just came out yesterday. It’s timeless and tied to a piece of part of my life that was one of the best parts of my life.

It took time before I was able to truly address my affinity for Takes Time. It’s not as good as Now, More Than Ever, but that’s ok. I’m biased. I’ve had spent ten years with that album and I’ve spent maybe six months with this one. A long six months, though. Takes Time is one of the albums I’ve spent the most time with all year because I knew it had to be a grower when I was initially let down. I’m finally ready to say it’s one of my favorite albums of 2013. Not because it’s a great album, but because it satisfies this part of my soul that only Jim Guthrie can satisfy, and that’s the most important thing. There’s levity and depth and this general feeling of wellbeing that washes over me when I listen to these songs. The way I Heart Huckabees made me feel when I saw it in the theater. So good that I subsequently went back once a week until they stopped playing it at Liberty Hall. Takes Time is one of those albums that makes me recognize my place in the grand scheme. There’s something about the gorgeous, melancholy melody of “The Rest is Yet to Come,” backed up by an incredibly bright arrangement of acoustic guitar and strings.

While Takes Time might not be as lyrically fantastic as Now, More Than Ever, his arrangements here are his best yet. While it took him ten years to release a new album, Guthrie wasn’t just sitting around twiddling his thumbs. He spent a decent chunk of time in Nick Thorburn’s post Unicorns project Islands and subsequently released a one-off album with Thorburn under the moniker Human Highway. He recorded the music for the indie video game Sword & Sworcery and Indie Game: The Movie and overall, Guthrie is much more well-rounded than he was ten years ago even if Takes Time isn’t as cohesive as it could be. Either way, I’m just happy Jim Guthrie is back and can only hope and pray that his follow up to this one doesn’t take another ten years.

"The Rest is Yet to Come"

"Bring on the Night"

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