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The Big Takeover #80 Spring 2017
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C.K. Flach - Empty Mansions (Self-Released)

31 March 2017

C.K. Flach is a musician from Albany, New York who is striking it out solo on the indie alt-folk circuit after a brief tenure with his previous band The Kindness. His debut solo album, Empty Mansions, is a concept album about division and confusion in the modern era, and is the culmination of a long series of attempts and experiments by Flach. In age of tumult and uncertainty, Empty Mansions is an ambitious record that attempts to make sense of it all, or at least try to understand it; and over the course of its nine songs and one spoken-word poem, deals with “issues such as politics, racism, division and corruption by telling stories of love, loss, heartache and salvation.”

Overall, Empty Mansions is an incredibly consistent and intricately crafted work, but among the record’s strongest moments is the lead single, “Boxcar Dreaming,” a nostalgic and weary allegorical travelogue, and “Calamity,” a dreamily melancholic ballad that sounds like it came out of the late-60s Laurel Canyon. The spoken-word track, “Firmament,” can feel a little bit like an indulgence, but it does fit into the album’s well-made structure. Empty Mansions is remarkably ambitious for a debut album, and it’s a spiritual creation from Flach that succeeds on just about every level.

 

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