(photo: Scott Padden)
Singer-songwriter Avi Vinocur made a name for himself playing with Goodnight, Texas and the Stone Foxes — or joining James Hetfield on mandolin during the third Acoustic-4-A-Cure Benefit. Vinocur embarked upon a promising solo career with 2015’s Portraits With No Color, a powerful collection of folk songs that were enhanced by the album’s raw, homegrown production. Friday will see Vinocur release his sophomore effort, No Cause For Alarm.
Portraits was largely a spare affair, driven by acoustic guitars that left lacunae of quiet around Vinocur’s country-inflected vocals — a skeletal construction that fit the mournful character of the songs. No Cause For Alarm, in contrast, leans heavily on electric experimentation and promises to be a bold step by the artist toward developing a singular, idiosyncratic sound.
Vinocur has released a track off of No Cause For Alarm, “I Should Have Been A Con Man,” and an accompanying video. The album’s lyrics were derived from his daily poem-writing ritual, and “Con Man” is a testament to his literary prowess. The video is also striking: The screen lights up with eerie sequences of Vinocur wandering the woods at night, starkly lit in contrast to the vast blackness of the forest behind.
Musically, “Con Man” takes a decidedly different tack than Vinocur’s earlier solo work: Though it hews to the minimalist approach, his vocals are now set in the distance, hung from a backbone of clanging electric guitar. Squalls of feedback clamor and shriek, building to crescendos before falling to a muted trill. Vinocur’s latest vaguely ominous offering bodes well for listeners who were captivated by the urgency and portent of Portraits With No Color. Watch this video and listen deeply to get in the right headspace for the sweeping sense of foreboding that will come with Friday’s release of No Cause For Alarm.