Album Reviews

Grouper: The Man Who Died In His Boat (Kranky) – Album Review


“When I was a teenager the wreckage of a sailboat washed up on the shore of Agate Beach. The remains of the vessel weren’t removed for several days. I walked down with my father to peer inside the boat cabin. Maps, coffee cups and clothing were strewn around inside.

I remember looking only briefly, wilted by the feeling that I was violating some remnant of this man’s presence by witnessing the evidence of its failure. Later I read a story about him in the paper. It was impossible to know what had happened. The boat had never crashed or capsized. He had simply slipped off somehow, and the boat, like a riderless horse, eventually came back home.”

Another deeply hypnotic album from Liz Harris (aka Grouper). There is a wonderful consistency of theme here. It will pass you by entirely if you allow it to or you can focus in on it to hear the subtle changes – the different melodies hidden beneath Harris’ usual layers of haziness, distance and nostalgia. It really is a beautiful record that has a great warmth to it despite that sense of distance it creates. As for the cover art: “The cover is my mother in Bolinas in 1969 pregnant with her first child. I love that picture. I always wonder what is on her mind.”.  Listen to the track Living Room below.

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