This is the kind of album and artist that as you listen you know it would be an absolutely sick experience in concert. Give Mr. Stratton a weekend with a looping pedal + acoustic guitar and then put him in Central Park - I'm certain a crowd would gather and drop quarters into his guitar case. I mean many quarters, like enough to roll into a $10 paper roll that none of us could have enough patience to pull off when we were kids. Will, that is somehow a compliment I assure you.
The keys and note choice give the songs a dark edge though the vocal melodies do not follow suit. The lyrics are mostly "positive" though the larger picture of each song's story are slightly mysterious and will take a few listenings to track. Who doesn't like a bit of mystery? "Folk" is dead center of this album despite any conclusions made during or after You Divers, however I will secretly request more songs like the first on the next album.
Post Empire makes me want to take a long drive out of the city on a cloudy day threatening rain. Skip breakfast; go meet an old friend you haven't seen since high school. She used to laugh at all your jokes. You catch up over coffee though the two of you are tea drinkers and you both know it but you don't want to break each others' hearts. You want to be sensitive, you want to fit in, you want to sound interested and caring like you are. There's so much you have in common. She hasn't changed, she's just grown out of her characteristic naivete that made you consider her more of a younger sister. Words aren't always chosen correctly; conversations go on too long. You spend three hours in the car each way for a 43-minute cup of coffee.
It was worth it.