Carry the Ghost by Noah Gundersen

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On Gundersen's first album, Ledges, he perfected the acoustic guitar love song, giving it some sadness with the violin and cello accents provided by his sister, Abbey. On this, his second time around, he extends his range by oscillating between soft acoustic folk and more driving rock anthems, often in the same song. He continues to use piano, acoustic guitar, and violin, but adds some electric guitar which makes his sound more dynamic. The emotional and pleading vocals give this album the feel of love lost, at times succumbing to anger, but ultimately settling on a meditative and somber tone. 

Gundersen is best when poetically shaping words and phrases, both personal confession and fictive universal themes. At times waxing theological, he sings "I think I heard a good man say/God is love and love has made us/But have you seen the news today/I have and I think God is gone away/If he was ever there anyway/‘Cause anyone who tells you they were born good is lying."

Gundersen engages doubt honestly, in a way that Christians can understand even if they come to a different conclusion, trying to make sense of the tension between love and the problem of suffering. Ultimately, frustrated with his own and other's depravity. "Don't want your sympathy/Just want you honestly/Will you honestly want me?/I will try to find a little more good in me/To give to you."

The album also works as a somewhat vindictive break-up album. But like all good folk musicians, Gundersen has found a way to turn a painful experience into poetry. (Dualtone)

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