Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
With one of music’s most deadpanned vocal deliveries, Bill Callahan, who performed for years as Smog, often sounds like an outside observer even when fully immersed in the action around him. It allows him to pursue the poetry of the moment and make it feel as if he’s a cinematographer simply recording the events unfolding. It also allows him to deliver lines that could be punchlines served up as straightlines and vice versa. Callahan doesn’t give much away; he sounds like the voice of reason even as he admits he isn’t sure where the creative lines are being drawn. “Eid Ma Clack Shaw” features a nonsensical chorus since the one he dreamed that was “the perfect song/ that held all the answers” apparently got lost in translation. The music on Eagle is rich and orchestrated, settling on quiet moments where pianos, bass guitar and Callahan’s deep vocal strains add ominous turns of events. The dark finality of “The Wind and the Dove” uses strings and downcast chords. “Rococo Zephyr” adds touches of acoustic guitar and simple rolling rhythms. It it's music to sedate the body as a world of contemplation opens before us.