Wednesday, July 08, 2009


A little while back the good folk over at the atease message boards engaged in some spirited discussion about Rose Quartz and whether we’re the talentless, hyperbole-prone spawn of Hipster Runoff. The scorn got so intense we had to step in and point out that if we’re occasionally too generous with the whimsy it’s because of the poetry in our fucking souls and that all those extra adjectives just turn up because we really love the stuff we’re posting about.

So I’m mentioning that because The Daredevil Christopher Wright have just dropped their debut album, and you know what? It’s making me feel some words. We posted about this Wisconsin trio back in March, when the first track from In Deference to a Broken Back, Clouds, hit the internets. At the time I said:
“It’s folk rock, all right, but not like we’re used to. It’s stranger, more musically ambitious, more EPIC. There’s highs and crashing lows, falsetto and handclaps, fucking polyrhythms. Constant surprises: references to the pastoral pop that’s going crazy right now as well as vintage pop and 70s guitar heroism. And really, really good songwriting.”
Anyway, I’ve been listening to In Deference to a Broken Back and I don’t wanna be the kind of breathless fanboy who starts spraying shit like “BEST OF 2009!” after three listens, but this album is kind of shocking. When you listen to a lot of music you get used to cherrypicking tracks. It’s easy to get caught up in the novelty of flavour-of-the-month reference points and collaborations and recording techniques and whatever. There’re a lot of records that get called good because they’ve got two or three interesting tracks, and there are way too many that get a pass because the band’s got a good rep. And it might sound trite, but In Deference to a Broken Back is a reminder of how you can’t fuck with really good songwriting. This is really good songwriting. I’m excited because you don’t often hear records that have songs this good. At different points it recalls other folk and indie acts that have exploded in the last few years, and somehow manages to be superior to them at every turn – it’s like Fleet Foxes but less aloof, Mountain Goats but less self-indulgent, Okkervil River but more consistent.

In that earlier post, I mentioned that this record was produced by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. I didn’t know Justin Vernon was a producer and maybe he’s not, but I can tell you that it makes perfect sense now – In Deference to a Broken Back could be this year’s surprise classic as For Emma, Forever Ago was in 2008. [Correction: the album was only mixed by Justin Vernon, not produced. Oops.]

I wish I could post the whole record for you to listen to because it’s varied and unpredictable, beautifully recorded, subtle and relentlessly catchy. Invest in a copy as soon as you can.

[The Daredevil Christopher Wright MySpace]

[Buy In Deference to a Broken Back from Amble Down Records]


rodeo_fan said...

great write up. i couldn't have said it better. i can't get "in deference" out of my disc player right now!!

David Lurvey said...

This is an amazing album, I agree. I was at the CD release show in Minneapolis and they were gracious enough to let me bring my video camera along and I shot almost the entire thing. Check it out. Peace.

Mark said...

What a great album (that's what my generation calls a CD). You really should see these boys live.
Mark ô¿ô

jess said...


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