Stitch blasts out of the speakers with the opening kick off track “Leftover Life To Kill.” With that Oregon’s own Alan Charing announces his return and a welcome one it is too.
Following the demise of A.C. Cotton in 2004 after their last album Notes For The Conversation, Alan entered a self proclaimed period of “frustration” and “seclusion.” Stitch, his first solo album since 1999’s Seconds West, proves well worth the wait.
The album sees him range from up-tempo, upbeat, and uplifting through to deep, dark reflection. In the eleven tracks he delivers a balanced blend of lo-fi roots rock, alt-folk, and country coloured southern edged style, sometimes splashed with a hint of punk fuelled scorn.
“Cold Milk, Big Bombs” has Charing characteristically telling it how it is. “New Jersey” shifts down a gear with finely delivered late night melancholy. A stand-out “Day Shift” energises the spirits amid a Tom Petty flavour before the excellent “I Can Feel The Wheel” veers into altogether darker territory.
“The Storm”, which also features Laura Gibson, takes a brass flavoured twist in a deceptively dark piece. “Disasterpiece” is anything but, displaying Charing’s commitment to write tracks with a tangible degree of gritty reality.
The neat beat of “Take The Hook Out” is guaranteed to return to your mind unannounced whilst “This Is Your Heart” shifts tempo and mood again. This, of course, is Alan Charing's strength and he serves up a busy, always engaging, album that has a whole load going on within it. As such it twists and turns with an earthy lived-in honesty amid constantly shifting sands of style.
“Whiskey Sours” drives to the reflective closer “The Long Goodbye” which is, appropriately, the longest track on the album. Stitch is available on Lazy Bones and hopefully signals the start of a new phase in the musical life of Alan Charing.