“Each Other,” the third LP from Canadian singer-songwriter Aidan Knight, fuels subtle experimentation with somber lyrics and tight songwriting, attempting to strike a balance between nuance and intricate song structure. It’s a unique artistic statement and a strong return for the performer.
A dark tone works its way through the songs of “Each Other,” summoning a melancholia that shifts with the weight of every hushed lyric or background swell. The album’s key aesthetic is its moodiness, which isn’t surprising when one considers that Knight enlisted Marc Paquin (The National) to produce the album. Each element of the album seems planned as carefully as a chess move.
The ambience growls and purrs behind the brooding and shifting songs that Knight has written. Although his music is as tight as it ever has been, his lyrics betray a growing anxiety, a restlessness that just can’t be shaken. This is music for the aimless wanderer in all of us, the part that wants to sleep in and not face the world another day.
“What Light (Never Goes Dim)” feels like the centerpiece of “Each Other” and is probably its best track. It drives forward in a sort of stream of consciousness through Knight’s thoughts, which he delivers in a comfortable, almost conversational baritone:
“Sometimes we dance
You have convinced me to dance
This is a testament
Of your power to convince
I am convinced
And continue to be convinced
Like I said, I have only been in love the one time”
This conversational quality is only enhanced by the moodiness of the song as it builds towards a melancholy but energetic chorus. Synth comes in to add a psychedelic element to the song, managing not to sound out of place in a fascinating arrangement.
Though darkness is a common current in “Each Other,” Knight sometimes lets the music rise into triumphant territory, such as on “The Arp,” where a laid-back groove suddenly morphs into a an ecstatic chorus as he sings “What a life that I have lived.” As the song melts and reforms into an instrumental cacophony of guitar and voices, we get a sense of the impressive range and style that Knight can tap into. When most of the album is all shadowy mood, the light becomes all that more impressive.
Even though there is the presence of the “other” on this album, the sense of uneasiness only seems to grow. On “You Are Not Here,” Knight sings of the trappings of memory and anxiety that keep us from the here and now. Sometimes, Knight seems to be saying, life feels like it is halfway there, the horizon constantly receding before our eyes.
“You are not here
Not at home
But each day starts
Wake up next to me
Hair’s never good
The show never fills
Sing out to darkness”
“Each Other” is definitely worth the listen, especially with good headphones or a stellar sound system. It’s a carefully crafted and unique piece of art, full of all the moodiness and uneasiness that comes with life’s biggest changes.