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CD REVIEW

Greg Jamie: Crazy Time

by Jason P. Woodbury on January 24, 2018


As leader of gothic folk acts O’Death and Blood Warrior, Maine-based singer-songwriter Greg Jamie specializes in mood and suspense. On Crazy Time , his first solo outing, he shakes none of that haunted old-world spookiness that defined his previous work, but augments it with a sense of otherworldly humor. “This life/ Is almost too figured out,” he sings on the bass-driven “This Life”—his shaky voice positioned somewhere between Neil Young and Damien Jurado—but the paths of the record are twisting and quizzical. Recorded primarily at Jamie’s home studio in Portland, Maine, the songs drift from droning waltzes (“Bells of Victory”) to loping psych-pop (“When I Get Home”). It’s most often restrained, with reverb-soaked guitars accompanying thudding drums and indeterminable noises, but the mood remains intriguing, benefiting the freaky sonic space that Jamie, along with co-conspirators Colby Nathan and Greg Hartunian, conjure up. Even at their most placid, threads of menace and danger skirt the edges of Jamie’s scenes: The ominous nods to sin, nakedness and shotguns in opening meditation “Inherit the Wind,” the browning fields of a land grown cold, and hungry beasts to ward off. But it’s not all doom. The songs also celebrate the arcane triumphs that dot a life lived outside the margins—the kind of glee that surviving a cold New England winter might inspire. “The things we choose to hear/ Are echoes through the night/ We were alive,” he sings, over slide guitars and a stomping beat on “Bells of Victory.”
Authors: Jason P. Woodbury
Artist: Greg Jamie
Album: Crazy Time
Label: ORINDAL