Anyone who has caught Chris Bathgate's live sets over the last year will most likely have seen him in loop-pedal glory, eschewing full-band interpretations of his work and layering guitar lines and vocal harmonies to fill out the sound. The six tracks that make up this follow-up EP to last year's full-length, A Cork Tale Wake, have been given this solo treatment largely since their inception — and Wait, Skeleton finally gives listeners a chance to hear them in studio form.
Songs like "Salt Year" and "Cold Press Rail" scrape away most of the guitar-pedal experimentalism and capture an intimacy that handily trumps the more overly produced moments of his LP. The gut-punch melancholy on lines like "Seventeen years before/ I should have hauled off and kissed her/ Now I lace my wine with ginger/ Just let my evenings pass," as well as the closing entreaty to "try again" on "Salt Year," are much better served with these simpler arrangements. It isn't all a lone wolf act, though; "Yes, I'm Cold," with its strident mandolin melody and booming drums, easily lays claim to the alt-country ground vacated by Uncle Tupelo, while the title track's closing minute ushers in a muted, cassette-taped ghost of country-rock glory via electric guitar solos and crashing cymbals. All told, not only is Wait, Skeleton a step forward in sound quality for the Ann Arbor-based musician, but it's also a sturdy slat in the bridge between his traditional songwriting and his interest in contemporary sound.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.