See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Michigan melancholy

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Anyone who has caught Chris Bathgate's live sets over the last year will most likely have seen him in loop-pedal glory, eschewing full-band interpretations of his work and layering guitar lines and vocal harmonies to fill out the sound. The six tracks that make up this follow-up EP to last year's full-length, A Cork Tale Wake, have been given this solo treatment largely since their inception — and Wait, Skeleton finally gives listeners a chance to hear them in studio form.

Songs like "Salt Year" and "Cold Press Rail" scrape away most of the guitar-pedal experimentalism and capture an intimacy that handily trumps the more overly produced moments of his LP. The gut-punch melancholy on lines like "Seventeen years before/ I should have hauled off and kissed her/ Now I lace my wine with ginger/ Just let my evenings pass," as well as the closing entreaty to "try again" on "Salt Year," are much better served with these simpler arrangements. It isn't all a lone wolf act, though; "Yes, I'm Cold," with its strident mandolin melody and booming drums, easily lays claim to the alt-country ground vacated by Uncle Tupelo, while the title track's closing minute ushers in a muted, cassette-taped ghost of country-rock glory via electric guitar solos and crashing cymbals. All told, not only is Wait, Skeleton a step forward in sound quality for the Ann Arbor-based musician, but it's also a sturdy slat in the bridge between his traditional songwriting and his interest in contemporary sound.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Aaron Shaul

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit