Pitchfork (Website) - "Making peace with something as painful as loss is a messy task. After is a confident, beautiful, clear-eyed testament to that mess."
Personnel: Doe Paoro (vocals); Sean Carey (vocals, piano, synthesizer, drums, percussion); Mike Noyce (vocals); Justin Vernon, BJ Burton (guitar, synthesizer); Laura Severson (viola); Kaity Witherspoon (cello); Mike Lewis (saxophone); Josh Leblanc (trumpet, flugelhorn); William Muñoz (trumpet); Andy Hofer (trombone); Adam Rhodes (piano, organ); Ben Lester (synthesizer, programming); Adam Hurlburt (drum programming); Amelia Meath (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: BJ Burton.
Recording information: April Base, Fall Creek, WI.
Photographer: Neil Krug.
A move to sunny Los Angeles and a deal with eclectic indie Anti Records haven't done much to temper Doe Paoro's lonesome, windswept moodiness. The upstate New York native first appeared in 2012 with her self-released debut, Slow to Love, a shifty collection of lush synth soul that was, if anything, even warmer in tone than her 2015 follow-up, After. A non-album single called "The Wind" arrived earlier in the year and found Paoro paired up with acclaimed vibe-setter Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), who then offered up his Wisconsin studio for the album's sessions. On After, Bon Iver percussionist Sean Carey (known as S. Carey on his solo releases) and co-producer BJ Burton (Sylvan Esso, Tallest Man on Earth) help Paoro channel a more fully realized version of the dark atmospherica she introduced on her debut. On the more textural tracks like "Traveling" and "Regret," she mixes the digital iciness of artists like Lykke Li and Bat for Lashes with some of Bon Iver's expansive acoustic soundscapes in a midnight cocktail befitting her smoky voice. Paoro's already percussive style is aided throughout by Carey's unique nonlinear drumming, which -- while generally subtle -- is sometimes used to dramatic effect, like on the '80s-inspired chorus of "Untethered." Lead single "Nostalgia" also provides some of the more overt pop moments on a record that, at times, feels so processed and synthesized that the simpler, piano-led arrangements, particularly on the soulful "Outlines," feel like a breath of fresh air. ~ Timothy Monger