Like a rising mist emerging from the leaves of a black wood, singer songwriter Deaf Joe’s Burrowings has a haunting beauty. His work writing scores for theatre productions taught him how to transform simple folk-blues serenades like ‘Bellynoises’ and ‘Fables’ into deeply intoxicating and memorable lullabies. He’s never alone to fight against his melancholia: clicking jazzy drums, layers of synths, and whispering piano pieces appear here and there as road companions.
For a first album, it shows incredible maturity in composition and instrumentation and finds a true balance in its songs between the need for progression (vocal harmonies on ‘Holy Water’, threatening electric guitars on ‘Repent’) and concision (the three minute abstract-blues of ‘It’s Alright’). Deaf Joe’s vocals are soothing and reassuring, not as impressive as some of his fellow contemporaries in this register (Bon Iver, Devendra Banhart) but always spot-on with the atmosphere he wants to create, weird and fascinating at the same time.
Burrowings is the kind of album you would play on a cold winter night, standing by the chimney in a lost country house, going through a family album that’s bringing up good and bad memories, sad smiles and warm tears.