Joe Pug – The Great Despiser
Lightning Rod Records
-out now
4.5 / 5

We at the blog make no secret of the fact that we really enjoy Joe Pug. Well, mostly. On his sophomore album, the folker strums back into a sound more reminiscent of his debut EPs; acoustic, bare, laid back. And while we generally don’t up-thumb an artist who doesn’t develop their sound, strangely enough, there’s something a bit deeper on this one. Pug masters an incredible confidence in his singing and writing, pulling off relatively simple sons such as “Silver Harps and Violins,” “One of Many,” and most everything else here, never droning out his listeners or losing the emotional intelligence of what he’s got here. It’s a tough act to put out fairly stripped songs that stand on their own legs, and much tougher to make us enjoy them more with each listen. Our single complaint is the country-crooning “Stronger than the World,” which is something of a sore thumb in an incredibly serious and tight songlist. But damn! – everything else is tender, quiet, and beautiful like a fall morning. Well done, Mr. Pug. Well done.

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