reviewed by Michael Thomas
There’s a lot that’s enigmatic about Dane Letourneau’s latest solo recording, and that’s probably just the way he wants it. Readers of Grayowl Point may recognize his name from his work in Gold & Shadow, which is currently on hiatus. Some members of the band contribute to this record, however, and Letourneau sees it as picking up where Birdhaus left off.
I can definitely see what he means. Birdhaus thrived on emotion, and emotion is front and centre on 20/20. By design, an album with more minimal arrangements must make a listener feel the mood, and that’s what Letourneau does here. As hindsight is 20/20, the album is Letourneau’s way of looking back things.
Through only seven songs, Letourneau takes on a number of topics disguised in mysterious song titles like “clips3” and “20after.” As it so happens, the former is a song about climate change and how no one seems to want to do anything about it. Fittingly, the song feels like a lament, with a focus on acoustic guitar. The latter song, well, that’s apparently about how Letourneau met god in Stockholm. Also fittingly, the song is anchored by a soaring synth, as though Letourneau has reached some kind of epiphany.
“1 vs 0ther” is a song about “coming down” from a high place, and though the lyrics are in the imperative, he says on his Bandcamp page that it’s really about his own journey to something new. The song also sets up one of the album’s major themes—that we are better with a community.
That’s where the last two songs on the album come in. The synths and guitars of “*without a sky” make the song sound almost rootsy as it implores you: “Don’t be a star without a sky/Don’t be a point of light.” The final song, “kingdom,” shows how you can build a life around serving yourself or helping out others. Spoiler alert, the latter will leave you increasingly isolated and perhaps feeling less than human.
And that’s what 20/20 is all about, isn’t it? Don’t we all want to be a little more human?
Top Tracks: “20after”; “kingdom”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)