Personnel: Sarah Bell, Julian (vocals); Dylan Edrich (viola); Phil Manley (upright bass); James Kim, Warren Huegel (drums).
Audio Mixer: Wymond Miles.
Recording information: El Studio, San Francisco; Garden Chambers, San Francisco.
Along with being the Fresh and Onlys guitarist, Wymond Miles has steadily built a catalog of interesting, challenging solo albums. 2016's Call by Night is certainly his most challenging record to date. Trading in both the swirling neo-psych and the swooning new wave of his previous two efforts, Miles here aims for something a bit more dramatic and singer/songwritery. More Nick Cave than Ian McCullough, in other words. After subtracting most of the electric guitars and synthesizers, he adds gospel-choir-backing vocals, dusty acoustic guitars, and stately pianos, all richly arranged to bolster Miles' passionately warped lead vocals. When it works, like on the sweeping "Solomon's Song" or the after-midnight country rock ballad "Rear View Mirror," the change in sonic philosophy really makes an impression. The darkness of Miles' words is made bolder by the cinematic sounds surrounding them, and the songs sink in deeply and completely. ~ Tim Sendra