I'd wager even Mark McGuire's mama can't keep up with the Emeralds' guitarist. Outside the collective endeavors of the Cleveland experimental trio with whom he made his name, McGuire's issued countless albums of serene, sun-dizzy guitar explorations on limited edition CD-Rs and cassettes on labels like Wagon, High Spirits, and eMego over the past four years. Following a collaborative album with Trouble Books, McGuire returns to eMego for Get Lost. Though set around McGuire's vagabond guitarscapes on both electric and acoustic guitar and sly morning-dew beds of guitar-synthesizer, Get Lost stands out from the rest of McGuire's stout discography with its more prominent use of his own voice. Along with added textural moans and hums, on tracks like "Alma" and "Alma (reprise)/Chances Are," McGuire's multi-tracked voice is used in repeated refrains that take on an almost mantra-like quality within these thick, loop-oriented drifts.
This shouldn't imply that McGuire's entered the realm of vocal-based psych pop, but the addition certainly rounds these tracks out with hooks and entry points that make Get Lost McGuire's most accessible album to date. Those seeking the audio comfort-food we've come to expect from McGuire will find that beside this new wrinkle, Get Lost is a fitting companion piece for last year's Living with Yourself. Gone are the more direct allusions to memory and nostalgia, replaced with the kind of sonic wistfulness and warmth that nestle alongside that very sentimentality.
The opening guitar strumming of "When You're Somewhere" for example, sits atop a hush of ambient wash and feels, somehow, both distant and soothing at once, like embracing the new cold of fall by overlayering until you're so cozy you drowse. Opener "Get Lost" begins with a ringing synthesizer melody before McGuire's slow, open-handed guitar begins to trace finger patterns in the sand, and eventually giving way to thick, distorted guitar fuzz. "Another Dead End" buries this same distant squall in several arcing guitar lines and a central refrain that feels as open-ended and horizon-pitched as the level prairies of McGuire's Midwest.
Alongside these short-form pieces lies "Firefly Constellations," a shimmering 20 minute side-long bit of ambient drone that recalls his work on Tidings/Amethyst Waves. Slow to awaken and uncurl, slight synthesizer burbles slowly evolve into more of several first-morning guitar lines. As the guitars withdraw and the synthesizers chatter almost manically around the edges, it's still the most restrained and refined piece here, a cloudy haze of sonic bliss that alludes to the man McGuire's always been RIYL'd with, Manuel Gottsching. Even if flat-on-your-back summer has faded, Get Lost arrives just in time for that next stage of seasonal pastimes: days tumbling in piles of leaves and shut-in fireside nights.
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Tracklist: Mark McGuire - Get Lost 01. Get Lost
02. When You're Somewhere
04. Another Dead End
05. Alma (Reprise) / Chances Are
06. Firefly Constellations
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