With its sincere folk delicacy and alluring croons, ‘Fault Line Serenade’ is Evan Cheadle at his best, making for an album worth celebrating.
Stream: ‘Fault Line Serenade’ – Evan Cheadle
Music’s ability of transportation is nonpareil; one moment in a dreamlike trance high above to welkin or, in Evan Cheadle’s case, a bucolic forest scene dripping in ‘60s nostalgia. Cheadle’s mastery of sound is immediately apparent on Fault Line Serenade, an album whose croons and gentle guitar melodies carry an intoxicating and grand aroma that sees Cheadle at his strongest.
The world-building from his lyrics blended with his vagabond musings allow Cheadle to conjure soundscapes of vast beauty, and listeners needn’t search long for it as the opening track “No Love Lost” delivers on this to great effect. “Sorrow in the Morning” only continues the trend, the plucks and strums growing in pace as the song carries out its tune. Despite its name, warmth is felt throughout. With “I Hear the Singing,” no second is left to waste. The longest track on the album, it carries with it the largest influences, harkening back to late-‘60s harmonies.
Cheadle’s vocals tighten on “Joker,” leaving a spotlight on them. Near the track’s end, the guitar melody blossoms into something new, carrying listeners down what feels like a gentle stream. For those late-night walks and ruminations where only dim streetlights adorn one’s path, “Ice Water” delivers its soundtrack. The calming allure of the track opens it to introspection, letting listeners sink further into the majesty of Cheadle’s work. Though shorter than the rest, “First Morning Light” is rich in emotion – each word sung and note hit bursting with heart. Each moment is used masterfully, making for one of the album’s best.
“Fumes” brings a unique energy; the electric guitar work a shining new layer that listeners can easily find themselves bewitched by. The solos at the end only further increase this effect, closing out in a gorgeous fashion. That lively energy is turned into jauntiness with “So Wild.” Cheadle brings out a dreamy aura with his chants, his words aiding in creating an almost weightless space, fluttering with an honest touch. Ending the journey is “Float on Down the Line,” the album’s grandest in sound. The vast instrumentation present here all collide in a succinct and memorable manner. Onrushes of strings, guitar, and caroling swarm the senses, and each second that passes by only further enraptures listeners into the track’s outpour of soul. With the last seconds fading, it’s almost instinct to then start the journey over again once more.
Fault Line Serenade delivers an experience teeming with fervent passion. The time-worn sound is strong, something surely to be credited with the album’s multi-year creation process. It’s this sound that truly makes not only the album but Cheadle as an artist stand out. The singer-songwriter approach is a common one, but Cheadle does away with normalcy. His approach here is incomparable – a sincere flurry of personality, warmth, and emotion. The majesty that lives on this album is not to be missed, and Cheadle has shown that his work is to be lauded.
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Fault Line Serenade
an album by Evan Cheadle