On his sixth album, Arranging Time, acoustic rocker Pete Yorn stretches his songs out to fill the gap left by REM and the late Jeff Buckley.
Yorn’s music is subtle and cinematic. He probably could have time travelled to the early-1960s and written songs about the end of summer, using instruments like theremins and baritone guitars.
The release of Arranging Time comes after a six-year recording break for Yorn, but the record is image laden and focussed, a haven for dreamers and those who love melodic folk-rock.
That’s not saying that Yorn is a folkie. His music is acoustic based and spacious. It’s framed in a folk context and brings in the sounds and progressions from pop, psychedelia and California country rock.
The album has a sonority, and its tone is as important as the songs.
Summer Was a Day and Lost Weekend both have a harmonic chime, redolent of Malibu, but the with dark elements of empty resorts on the Jersey shore. It’s atmospheric stuff.
Yorn’s collection of songs is an updating of the singer/songwriter/band leader theme except that he’s all three of those and most of the band as well.
He carries the weight well as Arranging Time is a deep record. He doesn’t do the Lenny Kravitz Svengali role, but produces songs that recall The Jayhawks and Tom Petty.
Yorn’s vocal is intense and conversational and gives the music a sense of belonging, making it easier to be pulled into the sounds. Arranging Time isn’t an edgy record and the sense of exploration in the themes and arrangements give the songs resonance.
– Dean Gordon-Smith is a musician and music reviewer, whose column appears in The Morning Star every Friday.