Brooklynite Liam Carey performs under the name secondstar. His 2009 5-song EP Teeth is a profound, morose shroud of sparse, emotive music that rushes into forgotten parts of the soul, imbuing thoughts of the woeful, melancholic, and enigmatic and spurring reminiscence of childhood insecurities. The outstanding track ‘Ravens’ served as opener for my personal ‘best of’ 2009, And the Glitter is Gone.
The latest effort from secondstar is called Feets. The 8 tracks on this record continue to explore the shadowy territory of Teeth, but incorporate diverse timbre and instrumentation while shining a light on the gloomy disposition revealed in its predecessor. Opening track ‘Ships at Sea’ plays on a worn out metaphor, building conspicuous social and individual tensions, wavering on whether life is ultimately forgettable or worthy of protection, and delivering the potent line, “If we knew the end, we wouldn’t even start.” ‘Devil in the Head’ is suggestive of Will Oldham’s Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy work, with eerie, stark composition and anguished vocals; ‘St. John’ is similarly evocative. Feets also surprises with lovely, uplifting tunes: ‘No Return’ begs for sing-along; ‘Crooked as Crows’ is an endearing numerological devotion song; the forebodingly titled ‘Death at Last’ is an unexpectedly upbeat little ditty.
In comparison with Teeth, Feets is more refined in technique and more balanced in considerations. Most songs feature guitar, banjo, and organ, and Carey’s quivering, layered, nuanced vocals are perfect accompaniment for the array of sentiments, from bleary to blissful. The compositions retain the haunting elegance of previous work, but reveal additional intensity and variability in Carey’s songwriting acumen. Right now, purchase of Feets (on sliding scale, $5 – $10) delivers both records; buy Feets, get Teeth. Click here to go to secondstar’s bandcamp page. These albums are highly recommended.
Check Out: Ravens [mp3] from Teeth
Check Out: Rider Ride [mp3] from Feets