Monday, November 7, 2016

Anthony Retka's Fields & Fortresses

Anthony Retka's album is just what I need to hear on the eve of such uncertainty.

If your eyes are tired, and your heart's wearing thin / think of the love you find yourself in... The Detroit-area singer/songwriter opens up his newest album, Fields & Fortresses with the tender thrum of "Radiant White," a spare shuffle of strummed guitars, lullaby vocals and soothing chimes.

Retka's heart has always been on his sleeve, going back more than a decade ago with Americana/folk projects like Tone & Niche, but now, his mind and his musings are both exceedingly more observant of the human condition with a weary voice melodically threaded to slow a pulse or percolate some goosebumps.

Anthony Retka - Fields & Fortresses
Release Party, November 18
PJ's Lager House
w/ Remnose and Scott Fab

Fields & Fortresses accelerates from the somber suites into fully electric, foot-tapping rockers like "The Other Side," with its crackling guitars and hearty vocal intonations. "Don't Know Her" may be one of his most endearing song to date, with its intricate guitar arrangement, its earworm zig-zag melody through the chorus, and its earnest poetics sewn into his signature lovelorn-philisophic protagonists confessions. When he gets to the quavering lilt of  that lyric "...a love song can be made of anything...," ready. And then there's "Fading In The Light," with its reverb-soaked vocals and jangly, throwback rock 'n' roll riffs and snappy rhythms. , swelling into a commiserating singalong strengthened by the rich harmonies of backup vocals.

There's often a raging storm inside of Retka, but emotional torrent never sounded so sweet. It's just what I needed when my mind needed solace and my heart sought peace. It's also an ambitious cycle of nuanced folk-rock motifs, each one aiming in its own way to swoon moods and pluck heartstrings.

Here's a song to take us out... It isn't on the new album, but it could likely be on the setlist for the release party.

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