When The Harpeth Trace sat down to put their ambitious, vintage daydream pop to tape, singer/songwriter Josh Kasselman was growing increasingly morose and distant. His already unpredictable song structures were now arriving accompanied by narcotic, ephemeral lyrics – choice material for sure, but also a sign of the spiritual collapse on the horizon. With the encouragement of engineer/co-producer Raymond Richards (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Mojave 3, The Broken West), the band completed the recording of its debut album, On Disappearing, in December of 2006. Before 2007 had arrived, though, Kasselman had boarded a plane to Bangkok, and would spend the next half-year wandering the hills and streets of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.
Undeterred, Harpeth Trace drummer Rob Poynter (Correatown, The Idaho Falls, Frankel) and bassist/guitarist Barry Poage (Monster) got together to finish mixing the album at Richards’ Red Rockets Glare studio. They eventually lured their singer back to U.S. shores with the remarkable final product – an engrossingly existential 35 minutes that seem to live outside of the realms of time and place. Evoking shades of The Zombies, Bill Fay, Galaxie 500, The Left Banke, Skip Spence, Dungen, and The Clientele, On Disappearing alternates seamlessly between psychedelic immediacy (“The Numbers in Your Hair,” “Locked Out and Wandering”) and winsome melancholy (“Who Knows Where You Are,” “Dead Eyes”). Upon hearing the completed work, Richards immediately offered to put it out on his new label. “It’s both familiar and experimental,” says the co-producer, “so old and totally postmodern. It’s a magic trick of an album.”
Marked by frequent cross-fades and compelling patches of sound collage (which arrived periodically by mail, bearing exotic postmarks), the album is an apt follow-up to the band’s angular, spare, high-desert-acid-folk EP, Man and the Cousin, which garnered critical observations such as “It sounds like it coulda been recorded in 1968 or 2010—it''s that timeless.” (The Tucson Weekly); and “Their dreamy pop is timeless—not to say it fits comfortably in any time, but rather their desert folk songs seem to wander detached from time in a sort of psychedelic limbo.” (The L.A. Alternative Press).
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