It can no longer seem like an anomaly for hardcore musicians to swap out muddier textures for folk-fringed ones. We’ve had Fort Wayne’s Grey Gordon stomp out from behind Parasitic Twins to spearhead his moody, Superchunk-blushed solo work. Defeater’s Derek Archambault launched Alcoa to explore the acoustic teasers lauded by casual fans of his main project. For Portland musician Adam Ciresi, Said Goner is the sidestreet facing his grittier work in Oregon hardcore outfit Carrion Spring. It borrows Gordon’s aforementioned state as a solo work and Archambault’s affinity for alt-country soundscapes — yet bursts both comparisons at their seams.
Ciresi’s self-titled debut LP combines the grungy punch of full-band arrangements and the sparse isolation of chord-stuffed acoustic offerings. It seems interesting that these two spheres smack against each other in the sequencing, but they’d seem unnatural left in separate quarters. Take, for example, the sandwiching of the nineties-inspired and splintered slow crawl “These Bloody Days” in between two softer cuts: “Yo Soy Capitan” and “Hum,” respectively. That coupling of light fare finds the aforementioned rock song, which boasts heavy Marcy Playground influence, following clouded, sleepy self-realization and preceding even more tired songsmithing — with rain and barista-grade bongos dripping out this ambience.
That’s not to say the more subdued fare is without its highlights. The harmonica-laced “Broken Boughs” injects folk flavor late in Said Goner‘s running time, which is given a warm welcome after the rollicking, slide-guitar sway presented on “At Home.” “Baby, I’m a Terrorist” is the standout in this brief adventuring into raucous territory, with Ciresi’s smooth pipes whittled into a rasping shriek over equally bothered guitar whine.
Yet, Said Goner‘s failure to captivate resides in this tonal imbalance, despite some shrewd execution of this duality at key intervals. The best example of this is the project’s take on Boysetsfire’s “My Life in the Knife Trade,” which strips the original’s downturned, quasi-anthemic balladry away in favor of acoustic strums. It lacks the source’s original bite, despite having a two-faced bark.
With two sides to the Said Goner coin, it’s imperative to safeguard both the loud and the laconic. Despite some surface noise creeping up at the start and stops of both sides (a quick cleaning proved fruitful in minimizing this), the sonic spectrum possesses a masterful vinyl transition. The best examples of this lie in Said Goner‘s details: be it the patter of rain on “Hum” or the sly slide-strummed guitar intermingling on “At Home.” There are instances where the upper end of the mix can get muddied (see “Baby, I’m a Terrorist), though, but not all rock-minded selections on the album suffer this fate.
Included inside a standard 12″ outer sleeve is a double-sided, fold-out insert featuring a grayscale photo set juxtaposing a sunlit window scene with a smoky, dark factory. If this is a commentary on Said Goner‘s gritty and gentle duality, it’s a powerful one. On the reverse side, the LP’s full lyrics are presented in handwritten fashion (save for the Boysetsfire cover).
Said Goner is available on 12″ vinyl featuring a transparent with black smoke colorway. The entire run is limited to 550 total copies.
“These Bloody Days,” “Broken Boughs” & “At Home”
“Said Goner” is still available for purchase via Zegema Beach Records’ Canadian webstore. UK/European buyers can head over to Sieve and Sand Records’ listing of the release here, and American collectors can pick up a copy via Ancient Injury Records here.
The digital release can be streamed and purchased via Said Goner’s Bandcamp.