Cameron Allen of Savannah, Georgia is Vocabulary, and “Faded Days” is his new lo-fi gem. It’s an 11-track album full of bedroom-recording intimacy, reverb guitar, and fragile vocals whispering of secret hurts, haunts, loves, dreams and disappointments. The first song, “Oskar”, speaks of a person stuck in a rut, who hides himself while reveling in the past. A single, hard guitar strum reverberates underneath broken lyricism, both sad and nostalgic. There are electronic touches bubbling to the surface, serving as the dream that wraps around the words. The lyrics are often terse little concentrations, referencing the general pronoun “you”. It makes the album feel like you’ve been taken into a confidence. Even the second song, “Rearrange Shelves”, seems to be the lonely musing of a person caught in a place they’d rather escape: The everyday doldrums of a job.
What’s remarkable about the record is how personal it is, and yet it’s so much more complex than it may seem at first listen. There are textures, changes of pace and off-kilter arrangements. The instrumental tracks are also gorgeous, marked by delicacy and bits of musical oddity. “Postmarks” starts with a cyclical keyboard rhythm, and the intermittent single-string pick of a guitar that builds into beautiful transitions and melodies. “Nowhere (Beth)”, a Factory-era styled track, is one of the better and more traditional sounding songs on the record. It spreads itself out slowly like the dawn, with hypnotic and unfurling electric guitar. This is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and will make the Their Bated Breath shortlist for those inevitable lists to come. Simply put, I love this record.
It’s about slow dissipation, like the marvelous song “Gown”, a track so majestic you may not want to listen to anything else all year. The song opens with a strange mention of American behaviorist B.F. Skinner before falling into a glacial meditation of vocals harmonies and languid organ. It’s a record about last breaths and longing for change. It’s an ode to the twilight. Follow Vocabulary at the band’s website here. The album is available at a ‘name-your-price’ offer at bandcamp. — David D. Robbins Jr.