Andrew Cedermark probably listened to a lot of classic rock radio growing up. In his guitar work you can hear an amalgamation of the titans of pre-1980 American rock greats like Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. There are echoes of B.B. King blues and Dwight Yoakam country rock. Yet Home Life doesn’t sound like a throwback.
Cedermark’s former job was guitarist for New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus. That band has its own long history of appropriating classic rock melodicism in service of modernized rock music. Where Titus Andronicus hopped into that car and blazed a hundred miles an hour down the punk trail, Cedermark’s solo sound is more patient, melancholic, and deliberate than the music of his former band.
The record opens with a poignant, guitar-driven rendition of “Lean On Me” titled “On Me”. “Canis Major” and “Canis Minor” function as Gemini counterparts, mixing Pavement, Built to Spill, and Bruce Springsteen. It turns on a rustic clean guitar line that recalls “Range Life”, builds on the low-key guitar heroics of Perfect From Now On filtered through Nebraska, with unassuming but well-executed rhythmic runs of dexterous fretwork. ”Train Window Man” is Uncle Tupelo as filtered through a former punk, dancing around mid-tempo melancholy with Television guitars and wounded vocals not unlike Titus frontman Patrick Stickles. Penultimate track “Memories, Ah!” crescendos into a crashing squall of guitar feedback.
Home Life does a lot of the same things that Cedermark’s debut record Moon Deluxe did. Moon ended up flying under the radar, which is a shame as it was an equally satisfying demonstration of Cedermark’s considerable songwriting talent.
The greatest strength of Home Life is how lived-in the tracks feel; the songs have a nostalgic, campfire quality to them. Cedermark’s revamped Americana sound conjures up the images of back seats, road trippin’ vans, and porch swings. Basically, Home Life sounds like home.
Essential Tracks: “On Me”, “Canis Major”, and “Memories, Ah!”.