Album: True Green – My Lost Decade

If the world had any fairness left in it (and I know it probably hasn’t), this album would be huge. To these weary ears, it’s the soothing, cerebral balm that this year needed. Dan Hornsby, under the True Green banner, has created something here that may well end up as my favourite album of the year, and there’s some pretty stiff competition on that front. 

My Lost Decade does that wonderful thing in seeming both obsessively toyed over and entirely effortless at the same time. That laid-back, cracked croon will no doubt encourage ‘slacker’ comparisons but the production is far too intricate to be considered throwaway or lackadaisical. This has an eye for nostalgia-evoking detail. Above all though – this is just damn fine songwriting. In my ever humble opinion, True Green has crafted nothing short of an understated masterpiece. 

I can’t help but immediately be drawn into that pitch-bending warble of the hypnotic guitar work that forms the foundation of a lot of these songs. This is a place I know I will feel at home. True Green has crafted something whose subtle sounds tap directly into that memory-evoking, romantic allegiance to an imagined childhood. Incidentally, True Green’s name (as it states on their bandcamp page) comes from medieval nun Hildegard of Bingen’s idea of viriditas, and is also a lawn care company. Deliberately playful or not, this is apt clue to the sort of contrasting sensibilities at play here. It’s an easy joy but a complex listen.

The lyrics, well… they are also absolutely magnificent – at times surreal – but never cloyingly kooky; they represent a delight in word play and colliding imagery; this is a glorious, bruised but beautiful talent we have at work here. My Peccadilloes is perfect example of these fractured, Burroughsesque collisions; it’s just fucking superb, evoking in some strange way an Up The Junction melodiousness- the momentary Beefheart parp at its conclusion adding deliciously to the madness. The words throughout though are chosen with glee- both wry, deranged, hilarious and poignant at different points and sometimes at the same time. Pushing the phonological logic of rhyme in brilliantly knife-edge dalliances; it’s in similar territory to when Adam Green rhymed Dostoevsky and Fab Moretti many years back. You can’t help but smile. Mellotron-like keys reverberate, guitars shuffle, drums just about slide into consciousness – it’s making my day just having it playing in this rain-beaten hole I call home. 

There are inevitable echoes of certain 90s cool insouciants – but it’s all wrapped up with such joyful dexterity that it’s clear that it’s its very own beast. Starting a song with the line, “I am actually Elvis/You all thought I was dead…” and getting away with it takes some doing. And no one, and I mean no one, has ever referred to the dance craze the Macarena (not to mention twerking) in such indulgently deadpan tones within a piece of popular music. DED is entirely absurd and utterly brilliant. Dan Hornsby, I salute you! To follow it with something as intensely heartfelt as Polycarp shows clear conviction too – its splintering lo-fi charm driven by an emotive beauty, with subtle licks of banjo and the yearning vocals of Alice Bolin adding further intensity and impact. That banjo, played at different points across these songs by Tailer Ransom, really adds an arresting, bucolic charm to proceedings (without ever overstating the fact)- another example of how, here, all the pieces matter. 

All in all, My Lost Decade is a must listen. It’s everything an album should be. Don’t let it pass you by. Listen to it now… not in a few minutes or hours… not tomorrow. Now! 

And better still, buy it

Written by M.A Welsh (Misophone)