A prolific songwriter who claims to have written over 1,000 songs (and can remember them all), Justin Turberville has been the driving force behind a number of Alabama-based groups. Still, his new album, Underneath The Shroud, might as well be his debut.
Occasionally cryptic, often painfully direct, and always mellifluous, Underneath The Shroud is a meticulously crafted yet (seemingly) insouciantly-executed masterpiece with eleven songs that lay bare a soul looking to get lost as much as it needs to be found.
Armed with a baritone guitar – tuned down to A-sharp in order to let his voice reach its desired heights -- Underneath The Shroud was written and performed almost exclusively by Turberville (drums, bass, keys, etc.). Multi-instrumentalist Christian Folmar handled the more ornate keyboard arrangements. The only song to feature a band is “Papertrail” – and it was cut live with Folmar tackling the drums and Joseph Coty on bass.
Musically, Underneath The Shroud recalls the heartbreakingly melodic gifts of Elliot Smith as well as the fractured pop stylings of another alarmingly prolific songwriter, Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard -- with whom he shares an affinity for interesting song titles (i.e. “Jazz Talons” and “Phantom of the Fuck”) and songs that quickly make their point and move on. Mostly, Underneath The Shroud is all about stretching out -- and those songs belie a deep love for Sunny Day Real Estate, latter-day Fugazi, and (at the very least) a soft spot for jazz. But ask Turberville who his favorite band is and you’ll get a quick answer: “Metallica.”
Underneath The Shroud also stretches out lyrically as well. Not in the “weird poetry” sense, mind you, but in the way Turberville unflinchingly confronts his targets, himself included. “This Could Be Your Autumn” is about an itinerant mother. “Throw Me Under The Bus” and “Lampreys” both attack the naysayers in his personal and musical life. “You Ain’t The Sun” is for an ex. “We’re All Gonna Die” is, in Justin’s words, “Pretty self-explanatory.“ “Lifting The Shroud” the album’s ostensible title track, seems aimed squarely at its author… But it’s hard to tell. And, ironically, that might be the point.
Underneath The Shroud’s stark and gorgeous production was created by Lester Nuby at Ol Elegante in Birmingham, Alabama. Mastering services came courtesy of Jason Hamric (also of Ol Elegante). Birmingham artist / musician Paul C. Wilm created the cover.
released July 16, 2013
Justin Tuberville: Guitars, Vox, Bass, Drums, Keys
Christian Fumar: Keys, Gong, Drums (Papertrail)
Joseph Coty: Bass (Papertrail)
Produced by Lester Nuby III at Ol Elegante.
Mastered By Jason Hamric
Art by Paul C. Wilm
"Hecho en Alabama"
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