Geoff Farina has been making records and touring consistently since the early 90s, and he has carved out small enclaves of dedicated fans across the US, Europe, and Japan.
His band Karate made nine genre-bending records and toured extensively for twelve years, and the songs he penned with The Secret Stars have reached cult status, covered by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Ida.
Since 2006, Farina's Glorytellers have combined Karate's indie-rock urgency with the Secret Stars' soft-spoken intimacy to evoke the best qualities of both bands.
Atone, Glorytellers' second release, is a collection of nine unclassifiable gems that gently unfold with ease and dignity.
Atone reaches into all corners of Americana; Echoes of Harry Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin reverberate through "The Keystone," as Farina narrates a train ride through the decaying mining towns of Pennsylvania.
The acoustic and electric guitars on "Concaves'" are woven together like twin fiddles. Matt Pond recently described the deftly fingerpicked "Just What I Was Thinking" as 'bluegrass Morrissey'.
There is even a bawling Walter Horton-style Marine Band that punctuates the bluesy "Softly as She Sings." But for all its pre-punk influences, Glorytellers have their feet firmly planted in 80s and 90s guitar music: Had they been plugged into 100-watt Marshall amps, the guitars on "Fours" and "Omni Stars" would be at home on a Pitchfork or New Radiant Storm King record, and the six-plus minutes of "The Coldest War" seethe and simmer like Karate's best albumending epics.
Despite its junkyard harmonica and finger-picked steel strings, Atone is what might have been called "a catchy indie record" a decade ago.
Farina's colourful lyrics and delicate vocal melodies permeate its charming, buoyant songs.
Atone is at once soft-spoken and proud, urgent and at ease, and its vivid narratives resonate more with each listen.
File Under: Americana For Friends of: Karate, Secret Stars, Codeine, HiM, Nick Drake, Decemberists, Harry Nilsson, Walter Horton