Boston-based “doom” folkies, Larcenist’s new album, Eager City, Patient Country, plays like an American indie-folk-rock opera bringing together the stories of everday people in the ever-changing American towns both small and large. The main theme of soul-searching and trying to reconcile with the past to become more satisfied with the present while using it to build a stronger and more independent future is a universal struggle, but Larcenist uses imagery and instrumentation to create something uniquely American. And, it sounds as if the group has been doing some soul-searching of their own since their debut EP, We Become The Hunted, making Eager City, Patient Country a triumphant example of a band coming into their own as songwriters and musicians.
From the outset of this opera, Larcenist uses point-on harmonies to suggest the unified struggle and music that is just as epic as the journey they sing about. Beginning with where it starts for all of us — our hometowns — in “Born & Raised.” Whether we’re still living and loathing in our hometowns or running away from them, they’ll always be a part of who we are in a very visceral way. Then, moving into the opening line of the next song, “American Saint/ no he ain’t/ he can’t leave his shadows behind,” we’re introduced to the antihero, “American Saint,” who is trying to find both acceptance and self-acceptance to move on. The beautiful, lonely violin in “American Saint” perfectly sets the tone for the character in the song. Next is the foot-stomping “Old Iron Man” that is one of the rarer moments on the album — light and carefree. The unique imagery, the unified voices, and the violin solo makes “Faithful” my favorite song and acts as the climax of this operatic journey.
Ending with a series of different styles and moods — the mournful “Starless,” the rockin’ “Pain,” and the restrained and soulful “Dig Me Up” — they all address the subject of relationship. Closing the opera without truly ending it is “Nebraska.” Like the open, flat lands of Nebraska, there is no end on the horizon for this sojourn of self-exploration, but there is one conclusion — you can’t change your past. Your past is what shapes you and your future.
So, with all that said, Eager City, Patient Country is the human experience and journey of self set to terrifically emotional music that equals the scope of its subject.
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