First Listen: Andrew Cedermark, 'Home Life'

NPR icon by Stephen Thompson
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Carianne King

Andrew Cedermark used to play guitars in the New Jersey band Titus Andronicus, whose songs are so stuffed with words, they're often sent flying out like spring snakes — as a listener, you're left wondering how they all fit in there in the first place. But as a solo artist, Cedermark plants his warble like land mines under layers of guitars that billow and rumble, Crazy Horse-style. He writes songs about loneliness and alienation — even the title of his new second album, Home Life, suggests a reclusive existence — but it often takes several listens to locate the words.

Cedermark's guitars, on the other hand, are the equivalent of his former band's lyrics: They're buzzing all over Home Life, as he mixes homely dissonance with strangely crooked, decidedly beautiful majesty. Out July 16, the album opens with a tremendous tone-setter in "On Me," a radical revision and deconstruction of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" which ultimately collapses in on itself in bleakly spectacular fashion. Home Life doesn't even get a whole lot more uplifting than that, but it amply demonstrates Cedermark's capacity to both bum out and stun.

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