Andrew Cedermark’s sophomore album Home Life, the follow-up to 2010′s Moon Deluxe, finds the ex-Titus Andronicus guitarist becoming a post-modern Holden Caulfield as he embarks on a search for his place in the world. Anchored in geography, the album is set in Charlottesville, VA, New York, and New Jersey and while it sounds as if the album’s narrative is about moving, it’s much more than that. Home Life explores Cedermark’s voyage towards finding home in the unknown journey of life. Cedermark is currently attending graduate school in hopes of becoming an English teacher and the lyrics on Home Life show his future goals are in the right place. His evocative images and phrases are honest while remaining poetic, backed by instrumentation that pays homage to Americana and folk. The songs have a fuzzed-out, contemplative sound that seeps through the slow-paced album without ever becoming a downer.
Home Life opens with a reworked version of Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me.” Breathing new life into the classic, Cedermark’s rendition isn’t so much a cover but a rediscovery of the idea of coming together. Cedermark sings “I swallowed my pride, rode the train home past solo trees and houses/A snake in every garden where nothing depends on anything anymore” and yet in all the hopelessness, there still lies the glimmer of possibility that in such a world, coming together and building camaraderie is achievable.
This idea of movement and transition lies throughout Home Life as Cedermark travels onboard trains in search for that idea of finality. “Train Window Man” finds Cedermark as the train’s conductor, deciding where it heads and where it doesn’t. While he sings “I don’t know where I am,” he knows he’s headed towards an end, passing old memories along the way, but never really able to access the past once he’s outlived it.
Produced by Kevin McMahon (Real Estate) in New Paltz, New York, the album really hones in on its homemade sound that simultaneously spirals off into grand breakdowns. “Tiller Of Lawn” slows down into a lethargic rhythm with Cedermark’s vocals at its often low and mumbled state, but transforms into a powerful soundscape dripping in reverb. The track reveals Cedermark’s fears, primarily that moving along and living life will never calm all your worries. Home Life follows Andrew Cedermark’s displacement in this world, searching for answers as he rides a train with no set destination in sight; and along the way he was able to create a rollicking, bemused album that highlights his skills as a lyricist, allowing us to join in on the journey.