Thick with reverb, swirling Rhodes piano and a chorus of distorted bells, Continental Divide's Golden Throats is a shabby collection of five imperfect songs—which isn't meant as a slight. The album's charm lies as much in the music as its visible seams.
Most songs begin with Nathan Pemberton's hesitant vocals echoing over simple progressions on guitar or piano. His voice is the most prominent instrument, and though it may sound unpolished—and occasionally atonal—it's hard to deny a palpable underlying sincerity. Songs vacillate between hushed verses and explosive crescendos, often dissolving into a cloud of analog dissonance. But underneath all of the distortion and clatter are elegant melodies. The dichotomy draws easy comparisons to artists like Phil Elvrum of the Microphones/Mount Eerie or Neutral Milk Hotel. While comparable, the music is far from derivative.
Continental Divide is comprised solely of Pemberton, a Florida-native who plays all instruments on the record and employs a transient assortment of musicians for live performances. In recent months they have shared the stage with the likes of Man Man, the Walkmen and Black Kids. Completely self-released, Golden Throats comes in handmade packaging, cobbled together as shabbily as the music itself. You can buy Golden Throats for $7.50 on Insound.