I’ve had Jeff Zentner’s new album, A Season Lost, for weeks now and after listening to it more than a dozen times, I still can’t quite describe its beauty, but I can tell you what draws me to to it time-and-time again.
A Season Lost is overflowing with Southern Gothic layers and textures that haunt the dreamy arrangements with strings and hushed vocals. It’s an album made for the steamy, foggy nights of the Mountain South. The eerie tone throughout the album creates some sort of morbid romanticism that transports the listeners to a desolate, bleak world where tragic figures turned heartbroken ghosts search for solace.
There doesn’t seem to be an on-going theme except for the unearthly tones that pervades A Season Lost. Oddly, it’s dark and sad, but not too depressive. The album showcases Jeff’s deft and uncanny ability to put together a complex song with complex emotion. I know I’m supposed to feel melancholy and downhearted, but I’m not feeling hopeless either. I feel strange, but a good strange. I can’t recall ever feeling this way while listening to other albums.
And, then there is the matter of the many great singers and musicians backing Jeff, levitating the album with each whispering note and every draw of the violin bow. Magnificent.
I think the only complaint I have is the cohesiveness of A Season Lost. Every song but one has a dismal thread that binds the album, and that song, “Bleed For You”, lacks the mysterious tones of the other songs, but it is also one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s sad and nostalgic but does not possess the strange and otherworldly tones heard throughout the album. So, with the exception of this one complaint, A Season Lost is a collection of ghostly and gorgeous Southern Gothic.