Paul Duncan creates hushed folk rock music by way of modern digital experimentation. His second album Be Careful What You Call Home mixes nearly equal parts lush acoustic instrumentation and sonic noodling by way of Christian Fennesz. In fact, one the closest comparisons musically might be another musician who creates somewhat similar-sounding work, and who has released digitally-deconstructed experiments with Fennesz himself, namely Jim O'Rourke. Another part of the comparison is probably because of the breathy, multi-tracked vocals of Duncan on many tracks, but that will be explained further.
Duncan has a little bit of help from friends on the release, including Claudia Deheza (who was in On Air Library and has also worked with Prefuse 73 recently), and Bear In Heaven artists Joe Stickney and Adam Wills. The result is an varied batch of tracks from the young artist that works most of the time, and even when it doesn't, it's ambitious at the very least. "In A Way" opens the release with muffled percussion and some gorgeous guitar melodies that wrap around chimes and the multi-tracked vocals of Duncan. At two minutes, the track is far too short, but as with several other places on the release, it actually leaves you wanting a bit more rather than wearing you down.
The Jim O'Rourke reference comes into full play on "Tired And Beholden" as some sparse piano melodies mix in alongside acoustic and electronic guitar, synths, crisp drumming, and male/female vocal harmonies. One can even hear a bit of the Super Furry Animals in the mid-tempo rhodes-rock of "Oil In The Fields" while "Toy Bass" is breezy, yet somewhat driving instrumental pop by way of the windy city.
In places, the album seems to get a bit bogged down with random sonic experiments. Neither "Toy Bell" and "Aria (Cave Song)" are by any means annoying or bad, but the former is yet another take on processed bells, while the latter is simply a couple minutes of guitar noodles that don't really go much of anywhere. In other places, though, the album seems to burst into new territory altogether, as with the stuttering, crisp "Content To Burn," which perfectly mixes the electronic and organic elements into a short, hummable track that once again feels too short. With thirteen tracks running under forty five minutes in length, Be Careful What You Call Home is a polished second release from the young songwriter (with beautiful packaging as usual from the Hometapes label).