Review: Adult Lullabies more than leftovers from Michael Feuerstack

A first birthday tends to be a landmark event, the type of activity that’s documented in excruciating detail (even in the VHS days) and the stories are told for years to come. When an album turns one, it’s usually a forgettable event, a date that passes through the night with no fanfare. Michael Feuerstack dropped Adult Lullabies in February to celebrate the one year existence of The Forgettable Truth (an album featured in Mixtape’s ‘Best of’ issue).

The five-song EP provides another window into the recording sessions for The Forgettable Truth with a set of songs that don’t feel like unwanted leftovers. Any of these songs could swap into the full-length and not feel out-of-place or like they’re degrading the quality of the album. Sometimes when an artist releases an EP —  or the dreaded deluxe edition — the new songs feel like a way to make money and only service the die-hard fans of an artist.

This isn’t the case with Adult Lullabies, an EP that can be enjoyed with or without accompaniment by The Forgettable Truth. The EP is aptly named not only because of the relaxing feel of the songs, but also the lyrical content. Just look at the opening lines of the EP. Staying up late, exhaustion and tiredness are three elements that seem to define adult existence.

All the body wants
Is another night of sleep
You only stayed up late
‘Cause there was song enough to sing

As the Roman numeral “II” indicates, there’s another version of “Blue Light” and it lives on the full-length. Recorded at home on a snow day prior to the recording sessions for The Forgettable Truth, “Blue Light II” has completely different lyrics and instrumentation compared the song it shares its name with, including vibraphone by Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara. The album version could be your pouring-coffee-in-the-morning theme song while the EP version could serve as the soundtrack to laying in bed wondering why you drank so much coffee throughout the day.

The mood picks up on “Home Away From Home” and “Maybe When You’re Older” as Feuerstack crafts songs with lyrics that express personal feelings in a captivating way. The singer-songwriter has a way of story telling with unexpected words, smart and wry-humour and vivid detail. The lyrics have substance that require a second, third and fourth listen to grasp and fully appreciate all the intricacies.

The final two tracks, “Mind and Body” and “Poor Everybody”, slide back into the lullabies category. “Mind and Body” is powered by Feuerstack’s vocals and introspective lyrics of love while the lap steel slows down time just a notch. “Poor Everybody” follows the usual form of Feuerstack song until an extended instrumental intro takes over, like the brief moment after waking from a dream and struggling to recall exactly what just unfolded.

Michael Feuerstack tour dates:

April 28 – Fredericton, N.B. @ Wilser’s Room*
April 29 – Moncton, N.B. @ Northup Frye Literary Festival*
April 30 – Halifax, N.S. @ The Seahorse*
May 1 – Sackville, N.B. @ Bordertown Festival/Vogue Theatre^
May 5 – Charlottetown, P.E.I. @ Back Alley Music*
May 6 – West Dublin, N.S. @ West Dublin Hall*

*With Jenny Berkel
^With Mo Kenney

About Jonathan Briggins 71 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.