[ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC] Even if the press materials for We Are All Fire didn’t explicitly talk about how the album centers on the theme of family, and even if Tom Filepp, the man behind Cars & Trains, didn’t sing lyrics like, “Little black birds in my family tree,” you’d still be able to detect the raw emotion that lies at the center of what is the musician’s finest work to date.
It helps that the entire album has a tone of hazy nostalgia. The soberly played acoustic guitar and simple, fluttering electronic beats provide a comfort and warmth akin to staring at a slide show from the ’70s.
The pangs arrive once you dig into the lyrics and Filepp’s affecting vocal delivery. He doesn’t have the most dynamic voice, but he knows how to use it to maximum effect. Listen to the way his double-tracked vocal oozes out the words, “But I am father’s hands/ Pushing forward some sort of plan,” and sense the ache that lies just beneath the surface. Those moments, sprinkled throughout We Are All Fire, provide the right burst of cold air, producing little shivers that prod you ever closer to the album’s heated core.
SEE IT: Cars & Trains plays Ted’s Berbati’s Pan, 19 SW 2nd Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 25. 9:30 pm. 21+. Call venue for ticket information.