Karl McCann radiates a warm intimacy on the soulful “Vera Claims The Cosmos”. With lyrics that have a true sense of life there is a unique beauty to be found. There is something so meditative about the dreamy aspect of the work. By far the very center, the true beating heart, rests with his vocals. A kindness about it, there is a lived-in quality that feels outright wonderful to fully behold. Carefully laid out, the pieces work in unison to create a cohesive whole. It feels easy to get lost in the wonderful washes of color that his voice and guitar bring.
The nods to Elliott Smith’s work are readily apparent, particularly towards his early “Roman Candles” period. Akin to Smith, McCann keeps the arrangements simple yet powerful. Folk centers the style, but the passion with which he plays has an uncanny blues-like quality to it. Some of the chords here take a page from John Fahey’s American Primitive approach, for they touch upon so many different genres, from elements of classical to even hints of raga within the gently woven textures.
Opening the album up strong and setting the tone for what follows is the tender title track “Vera Claims The Cosmos”. Here the decay of the guitar chords adds to the sense of otherworldliness. The spry “You’re Not A Clone” features a wonderful little catchy rhythm, where the similarity to Smith is readily apparent. Delicate strings accompany the mellowed atmosphere of the aptly titled “Someone’s Dream”. With “Chasing My Shadow” there is a sense of trying to overcome, a small yet steady defiance. Going further out into the psychedelic realm “Own The Sky” recalls a bit of Flying Saucer Attack’s rural affect. Gestures gain a delicate frame on “My Oh My”.
“Silhouettes & Sundials” has an incredible worldview to it, for it invites the listener into a low-key sky-gazing spirit. A short punchy piece “The Games You Play” feels quite soothing. Cyclical looping qualities endear the longing nostalgia of “I Wish I Had A Time Machine”. Rather joyous and with a bit of the Mountain Goats’ flair is “Information Overload” by far the highlight of the entirety of the album. Neatly bringing things to a conclusion is the reflective “This Isn’t Hollywood”.
“Vera Claims The Cosmos” explores the innermost working of love, desire, and the yearning that defines a life, and Karl McCann does this with such compassion.