Originally from Austin, Jack Wilson spent time shuttling between Texas and the Pacific Northwest. While last year's local debut shifted from Neil Young-style Americana to progressive rock, Spare Key turns on dark songwriter fare. Prompted in part by a gunman who killed four people at Seattle's Cafe Racer, a place where Wilson performed – and had been aided by several of the deceased – some of these compositions grapple with the aftermath. The results are a chamber pop that recalls Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and even Brian Wilson. Lush harmonies, orchestral touch points, and prodigious hooks come together with a restrained amount of humanity. It's a suite of songs meant to be consumed whole, the august title track and twinkling "Cowboy" landing among the most accomplished on Spare Key, likely Wilson's masterwork.
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