Besides heartache and whiskey, one of the tent poles of classic country and folk music is a sense of humour.
There’s often a playfulness to these stories of lost love and lonely travels, a winking eye from beneath the brim of a drooping cowboy hat.
Though Micah Erenberg’s latest record veers boisterously from his quieter folk and country roots, Love Is Gonna Find You, released Oct. 4 via Sleepless Records, carries on this tradition of good humour in the face of bad luck.
Despite its crunchy guitars and brash, saturated sound, Love Is Gonna Find You is literary folk at its core.
Packed with dense lyrics and witty turns of phrase, there’s a clever playfulness to these songs and a willingness to expand the comparatively subdued pallet of Erenberg’s 2016 debut album, Poor Mic’s Toe.
This new set of songs moves and shakes in ways his previous songs did not.
From the sunny, string-soaked opening track to the beachy, drum machine-led “What Am I Doing Here” and the blown-out crunch of “Somewhere Beyond the Ocean,” there’s a sense that Erenberg is dipping his toes in new waters.
Erenberg also allows for moments of genuine disorder to creep into his pop-indebted writing.
At the end of the aforementioned single “Somewhere Beyond the Ocean,” the song deteriorates into waves of distorted feedback and alien vocal manipulation.
However, beneath all the playful experimentation and wry humour is a record unafraid to indulge in real, bruising sadness.
It’s the simplest songs here that hit hardest.
The penultimate acoustic ballad “Bored” is an affecting dissection of depression and lost love, harkening back to that other tent pole of country and folk — good ol’ fashioned heartbreak.
But it’s the warped-piano title track that takes the cake, a perhaps unintentional homage to late underground hero Daniel Johnston, who’s own “True Love Will Find You in the End” shares the spirit, and some lyrics, of Erenberg’s open-hearted pep talk.
Love Is Gonna Find You is the sound of Micah Erenberg stepping into a brighter world, one where heartbreak and humour can live in tandem.
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