Singer-songwriter C.J. Bergmen’s first solo EP as ‘filial’ offers a slice of alternative folk that’s more stained-glass cathedral than plaid-shirted farmhouse. From the fuzzy, sun-drenched synth tones and youthful handclaps of opener “Come on Fire”, to the rainy-day reverb of the near-defeatist “Pull Yourself Together”, Bergmen weaves big-room vocal harmonies into his affecting guitar leads, occasionally punctuated by a tinkering xylophone or breathy organ.
As the record proceeds, the music follows a trajectory many of us are familiar with: things start out bright and hopeful, and gradually become darker and more difficult as time passes. Despite the increasing pressure, Bergmen artfully squeezes beauty from tragedy.
“Isn’t it, isn’t it beautiful?” he asks through a haze of deep, meditative vocal chanting on closing track “Isn’t It”.
Yes, yes it is.”