Issue September 1, 2009

Posthumous Success

Tom Brosseau
FATCAT

Grand Forks, N.D.-turned-Los Angeles singer/songwriter Tom Brosseau’s third full-length for FatCat, Posthumous Success (named for a chapter in an Albert Camus biography), reveals a sonic sophistication not really evident in the bare-bone acoustic arrangements of earlier recordings. What hasn’t changed, though, is the emotional resonance apparent in Brosseau’s image-soaked language. His songs are self-aware and honest: All of my victories and all my losses are right here on my arm, he sings in “Big Time.” Posthumous Success is the chronicle of this truth. His vibrato voice paints precise oral hieroglyphics in “Axe and Stump”: I’m gonna put on a happy face … gonna get up and paint this place. It’s a black and white world without the music of Brosseau. Voice equals vision. We need his words to see the palette, to reveal to us this unique snapshot photo of the world in vivid color and light.