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From the Loam and Other Places is the most recent EP from Nashville-born singer-songwriter Casey Black, featuring both original tracks and several songs from his previous album, Lay You in the Loam. While only five songs long, each track on From the Loam and Other Places is perfectly individualised, and has a flawless flow, even incorporating previous material seamlessly.
The EP has an earnest quality that permeates throughout, albeit in different ways. “Every Time I See a Plane” is a more introspective and nostalgic yarn, where Black hits some of his highest notes (and to me feels his most reminiscent of The Eel’s E). In contrast, the album also maintains its heart when it wanders away from Black himself, as evidenced by the penultimate track”The Sarge”, which solemnly recounts the life and sufferings of one Sargent Hokum who, due to damage to the hippocampus, has lost his ability to create new memories. While not being particularly sombre in tone (the song itself is sung from the perspective of Sgt. Hokum, who seems to be braving his condition well), it carries with it an air of respect for the man’s loss, with lines like “my brother says he’s see’s me every single weekend that he can” being both sobering and revealing.
However, this is not to say the album is entirely sentiment – “Dig Together” does a good job of altering the pace of From the Loam… by being fun, the teeniest bit goofy and wonderfully catchy. Even the angry and mournful opening track, “Fire Fire Fire Fire, never wallows, and instead is a powerful and memorable gut=punch. While I can’t say that From the Loam… is completely indicative of the quality of Lay You in the Loam, I can say that on its own it makes for a captivating and enjoyable listen.