Careful is the project of producer/multi-instrumentalist/magazine editor/robot builder Eric Lindley, and true to the artist’s forever-unsearchable moniker, Lindley’s third album, Because I Am Always Talking, is full of care. When Lindley sings atop some slight acoustic strums on “Odd Exchange”, he does so with a fragility that brings to mind classic Will Oldham. Between “Odd Exchange” and the wisp of a lament that is “You Love Me”, Lindley has the art of the heart-wrenching tremble down pat, but Because I Am Always Talking is not all pained hushes and folksy guitars.
Lindley melds these folk stylings with minimalist electronics to bring a refreshing amount of range to the album. On “I Had a Kid”, they allow for a glacial sonic landscape that creates dissonance with Lindley’s anxious lyrics. The electronic side goes glitchy as it takes the lead in the suicide tale “Quite”, culminating in a machine gun industrial clatter, and Lindley goes into full-on auto-tune mode for “It’s Funny”. The amusement of hearing Careful’s bleakness so heavily processed is a welcome diversion from the album’s moodiness, as is the hand-clapping closer “Frog Went A’Courting”.
Although a familiarity comes with the sounds of Careful, it’s the vast array of sounds — and the grace behind them all — that makes the album enticing. Take the opening title track, for example. What’s fascinating here is not just that Lindley goes from unassuming acoustic strums to more adventurous plucks to an ominous organ gurgle followed by a choral swell all in under 20 seconds in the song’s third act, but how seamless these shifts are. Because I Am Always Talking was reportedly recorded in the bedroom closet of Eric Lindley’s childhood home, and this one-upping of bedroom pop has made for a highly personal album with outright claustrophobic moments.
Essential Tracks: “Because I Am Always Talking”, “I Had a Kid”