Album Preview - North Americans - Roped In
Patrick McDermott, who records as "North Americans" out of LA, constructs spare and delicate guitar-centric music. Like Third Man labelmate Luke Schneider, he excels at setting repeated melodies to establish drone-based backbones of songs, but then McDermott and his friends add on layers of instrumentation to lift each piece up from its base. On his new album, Roped In, McDermott features fewer contributors than on its breakout predecessor, Going Steady, making it a more intimate collection of songs. However, his community is still key in creating what is one of the year's most beautiful albums.
Collaborations only work if both parties can play off each other naturally, as if in conversation. Throughout Roped In, McDermott's guitar and Barry Walker's pedal steel have such a relationship, wandering toward a shared destination at an unhurried pace. Perhaps its the LA-PDX West Coast connection, but both musicians seem to be speaking the same dialect. In the same way, Mary Lattimore's two features and William Tyler's three are all on a shared wavelength. Lattimore's harp work on lead single Furniture in the Valley makes it a standout track, and Tyler's guitar embellishments on album closer Break Maiden provides melodic depth. But still, this musical utopia would not be possible without the vision of McDermott himself, and Roped In is a result of his creative aesthetic. Check it out this Friday on Third Man, and enjoy the serene world which North Americans has constructed.