In sitting down to review Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us, I was immediately stumped. Three listens later, I realized I would have an extremely difficult time reviewing the album, not because I didn’t want to and not because it wasn’t good–it most definitely is. I’d have a difficult time because it left me baffled. It’s that confounding!
There are elements of folk and pop and country and… the list goes on. But to classify Death Vessel as any one genre, or any one sub-genre, would be false. Nonetheless, Death Vessel’s music maintains a commonality in itself. Were Death Vessel easily classifiable, each song would fit into that classification.
Songs like opener “Block My Eye” and single “Bruno’s Torso” are distinct in their folk sensibilities, yet not folk at the same time (and not really anti-folk either). Another standout is “Peninsula” — its electric breakdown toward the end is stunning!
Death Vessel is the project of Joel Thibodeau, whose lyrics and voice elude a mystique like no other. At first, I thought it could be a new project by Tiny Vipers’ Jesy Fortino, but Thibodeau’s voice is nowhere near as filled with hopelessness. Besides, Joel is a guy and thanks to higher-pitched, feminine sounding vocals, he is easily likened to Jeff Hansen. His songs, instead, are–well–about as unique as they get:
If halfsies are equal to none
And nothing is precious enough for us
Then we are none, perfectly none
In this sense, he is a modern day folk philosopher. And I’m satisfied with leaving it at that.
Sub Pop [CD, 2008]
1. Block My Eye
3. The Widening
4. Bruno’s Torso
5. Obadiah In Oblivion
6. Exploded View
7. Fences Around Field
10. Belt Of Foam