In Southeastern American college towns, we are blessed with musicians who are careful to make smart music. By and large, we seem to avoid ripping off trends that bounce out of pricey, indulgent and soulless cities. We rather stick to our business of formulating smart, lushy, hell-yeah Southern pop--whether it's of the indie, Y'allternative or Hobex prescription. And if you've ever left town long enough to miss it, you understand.
Cole Guerra may not be Southern or in college, but in his music he gathers the necessary elements to stand up and sing rightfully from the leaky side-street skylines of Chapel Hill. Throughout his self-release, All This And More, his dusky green melodies, leisurely layered guitar work and poet lyrics help to play out his thoughts, mostly on love, unfolding as if they were written under water or in a dream. "Latent" opens the record and is beautiful, maddening, driving and hook-happy as it Sybils back and forth through careless time changes and somehow ends up way over yonder in the minor key.
In "Mars," his poppiest tune, Guerra shows us the cross section of his brain (and yours) where self-doubt lives. Here, insecurities swirl around in a piano/guitar standoff until the song's wanderer finds true love, proving a heart's safety is in numbers.
And while it is a popular thing in Guerra's arena to go singing diary entries against the backdrop of a lowly acoustic guitar, it isn't necessarily a simple assignment. The most ambient factors in pulling this style off are energy, correlation, arrangement and style, which Guerra carries out better than a sixth-year English senior.