A profound beauty resonates throughout Ehret’s soulful “Gleaner”. The careful update of a traditional folk sound gives the album a living, breathing poignancy. Delivered with the right level of urgency Ehret crafts a world uniquely his own. Instrumentally vibrant a wide slew of color filters into the dense mix. Going for a hint of the theatrical there is an intense drama to the way the album unfurls. Narratives emerge in each piece while Ehret ties the whole of the album together in a way that feels truly all-encompassing. Emotionally rich a poetry starts to formulate as the careful marriage of word and sound mesh into a compelling stream of consciousness.
While heavily versed in folk, elements of rock, electronica, and experimental filter into the sound. In this fashion, he draws from Grizzly Bear’s earlier, darker works. Clever riffs and melodies further highlight this unique orchestration that takes place. Beyond this, Ehret’s refusal to go for simplicity, instead exploring the complexity of the arrangements, takes a page from Richard Dawson’s work on “The Peasant”. Like that album, “Gleaner” goes for something heavier, deeper, and richer than many of his contemporaries. Everything about it churns about in oftentimes uneasy rhythms.
“I’m Here Now” sets the tone for what follows – a brooding atmosphere that fully comes into bloom with “Sow”. On “Sow” the scrapes of the guitar convey a sense of determination, strummed with urgency. Distortion rears its head on the colossal stately aura of “Through the Dark” with the vocals echoing into the cavernous space. The drums hit with such insistence that it has a clear-eyed focus to it, making it one of the highlights of the album. “So” features a delicate toy box melody woven right into the sound’s very DNA. Quite lovely “Mourning Star” offers a lush backdrop to some of his most surreal imagery, verging on outright meditative in scope. Teeming with a giddy energy is the propulsive “Sew”. With guitar work that has a woven quality, “Pray for Rain” proves to be a glimmer of hope. Stark with its focus “Groaning Seed” has a crystal clarity to it.
The whole of “Come Back to Us” proves to be a tender ode, one that reveals a truly beating heart. Drums underpin the emotionally resonant core of the piece. Chamber folk qualities emerge on “September 12th, 2017”. Spacious and ambitious “Two Olive Trees” feels akin to a grand journey. Jagged electronic pulses filter through on the anxious “Soh”. Swinging back into a hushed awe is the aptly named “Poet King”. Atmospherics matter a great deal with the acutely balanced “Broken Seals”. Guitar and vocals become one with the deliberate pace of “Sluice”. Effortlessly tying everything together is the majestic finale of “The Covenant”.
“Gleaner” reveals Ehret to be a storyteller of master caliber, delivering half-remembered moments with a distinct beauty.