For me, the albums that stand out are the ones that evoke feeling. I hate emotion and tend to repress it, so when a band or album triggers something real, it sticks out for me. It has to be something relatable, something more than just a fragment of a fictional reality. No, it is reality, and it zeroes in on your own mirrored truth. In the case of Toronto-based folk rock group, Eriksen, their album, Unravelled, definitely achieved that.
The album opened with a track that had a nice, simple progression. “Near The End” is a love song, but it certainly isn’t typical. The lyrics are the highlight, and are by no means cheesy. The harmonies, done by both guitarist and lead vocalist, Erik Jorgensen, and bassist, Adam McNeill, set the tone for the rest of the album. And what a great tone. Leading into the next song, “Peggy Sue,” there is quite a change in sound. Instead of the quieter, lovey-dovey feel of the opening track, this one picks up the pace. It screams country, something that even the track name gives off as well as the lyrics themselves when Erik sings, “I would go and write a country song, instead of singing blues.” The background guitar riff, which slides back and forth, is a subtle addition. Even the pronunciation of the words help to scream out the intention of this piece. I must again point out the harmonies. Harmonies are always a great addition, and often poorly executed. These guys know what they are doing harmony wise, and it shows.
My personal favourite on this album is its title track, “Unravelled.” The moment it started, I felt the influence of City and Colour. The intro vocals embody Dallas Green; it is crazy how similar Erik’s voice is to Dallas’. This song is a slower, dark, and almost echoing type of song, and when the music filled up, it reached a whole new level. The bass and drums were done in a way that highlighted the emotion presented. There was something in this song that made me want to restart it just so I could float in it longer, but when “Holding On” started, I was happy I let the album play through. It sticks to the same style as “Unravelled.” Erik’s voice has that ‘pull-on-your-heart-strings’ and ‘make-you-want-to-cry’ timbre to it. For me, the album doesn’t have a cohesiveness until these two songs. The first two are a good intro and a nice change up, in that order. “Unravelled” and “Holding On,” however, break your soul, and it works. The lyrics aren’t cheesy, the instrumentation is on point and very tight, and the melding of talent is beautiful. Both tracks have a haunted quality to them which definitely resonates with the listener.
As the album progresses past the middle, “High Hopes” picks up the pace a bit. It starts off with an intro riff that has more energy to it. It gels, and at the same time lets you melt into it. There’s a noticeable, upbeat change from the previous tracks. As a closing song, “Time Square” ends the record with the same style as the rest, but with a healthier fullness to it. The song doesn’t leave you wanting to finish a bottle of wine by yourself like “Unravelled” or “Holding On,” but it still pulls you in. A beautiful finish to a record that stirs your insides.
Unravelled is one of those records you put on when you want to get washed away in the swell of music. It is like the beach at high tide; always pushing and pulling you in the direction it wants, and you can only let it take you. My only criticism is that the cohesion of the last four tracks could have been explored more with the opening tracks. I love the diversity with the first two songs, but I want more of those harmonies, those musical swells, and that heartbreaking lead voice which really hit a high in the middle of the record.
Eriksen have heart, and aren’t afraid to have it explode into music. Keep at it guys, because, with all the trash coming out, we need more of this.
Written by Danielle Kenedy
*edited by Kate Erickson