It’s A Wonderful Life
Mark Linkous is among my favorite artists.
Writer of strange and beautiful songs, he often created experimental sounding bits, though melody was always a focus. His choice of instrumentation grounded these odd tunes, and makes them familiar. And, though his voice isn’t technically strong, and he himself often masked it with effects (and had guest vocalists), his songs can be very affecting. Add to this a blend of surreal imagery and frequent nature references, and we have some of the most unique music in modern American pop.
It’s A Wonderful Life (2001) is my favorite release from the Sparklehorse catalog.
The production is warm, textured, intimate and highly engaging. Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev) co-produced, and in my opinion, this collaboration created Linkous’ best sounding album. The production very closely matches the overall vibe and narrative.
Now, this is a somber record. It rocks at times, and drifts quietly at others, but even the sunniest and most hopeful melodies don’t pierce the overhanging cloud of bittersweet memory.
A perfect match for a gray morning in September.