Up until now, Noah Gundersen’s output has been tentative at best, limited to a handful of EPs and a pair of early efforts with his former band, the Courage. With Ledges, his full-length solo debut, Gundersen’s star has its best chance yet to shine, given his pensive, purposeful musings and a sound that’s carefully considered.
Despite his penchant for hushed melancholy melodies, Gundersen’s tomes are generally quite compelling, his mesmerising take on quiet contemplation underscored with sensuous and seductive appeal. The acapella intro “Poor Man’s Son” seems a strange way of making an initial connection, but with songs like “Boat House” and the title track, Gundersen’s ability to emphatically express a not-so-subtle sense of heightened desperation is clearly established. Other songs — “Isaiah,” “Separator” and “Poison Vine in particular — are immersed in circumspect, underscored by intimate settings cast with acoustic guitar, piano, violin and Gundersen’s darkly expressive vocals. Flush with tangled emotions and an unsettled sensibility, they’re a beauty to behold.
Arguably, there’s no shortage of forlorn, shadow-gazing troubadours these days, and Gundersen’s troubled sojourns could typecast him in that mould. However that shouldn’t preclude the fact that Ledges is especially auspicious.
– Lee Zimmerman