Autumn in Halifax - the soft, soft shakes
Setting out to make a "more pop-sounding" album this time around, Autumn In Halifax leader David Merulla proves that poppiness doesn't have to come at the expense of substance. Merulla's work can flow as gently as a canoe being carried downstream by a slow current, but tends to be heavy on the atmosphere. He also writes prose, and his songs often come across like the sonic equivalent of pastoral scenes described in dense passages of literature. By contrast, "Soft Shakes" immediately gets off to a more anthemic start with the singalong-inducing "Sleepwalkers." As the album goes on, drummers William Doucette and Jonathan Stevens provide lively beats even as Merulla begins to evoke the deep stillness of vintage acoustic Neil Young. Merulla has an unparalleled knack for challenging your expectations while going easy on your ears. As accessible and beautiful as it is, "Soft Shakes" still commands a most rewarding kind of patience.