This album represents several years of home-recorded material where dense and intricate layers are contrasted with pure singer/songwiter simplicity. The melodies are triumphant, transcendent and nostalgic. Low-Fi DIY recording transforms into a Hi-Fi experience as the glitches, negative spaces and background textures become compositional elements.
From a random review I found on rateyourmusic.com (special thanks to whoever wrote it):
"Wow. This is going to take a couple more listens to understand fully, but right now I feel confident that it's at least very good. This is a very interesting and odd folk album. And it's not odd because it's wacky or incredibly dissonant. It's because there are so many slightly contrasting emotions and recording techniques and ideas and lyrics here that I can't begin to just settle back and let the music wash over me. This is very much "active listening" music, if only because it's so stimulating to try to sort everything out.
There's a definite contentedness hanging over the entire album, but it's constantly obstructed by frequencies changing in unusual ways, as tension comes and goes. The tension is most heavily present in the second half of the album, where mostly pleasant acoustic guitar is made heavy and oppressive in tone with sporadic, mild tempo hangups and bizarre distortion. Setting is also used to great effect. Sometimes the listener will be prompted to take in the music from afar ("Lucas Aquarius" once the conversation stops, "Invocation of the Fourth Seal"), other times where one is thrust right into the artist's 'dojo' ("They Get You When You Sleep." where it sounds like the song is being played outside of the studio in a large group, "Absentia" where the singer/guitarist toasts a friend before he starts playing), and others where the point of view is hazy and in between ("Archimedes" is lo-fi to an inane degree).
The guitar isn't just a side-note to the presentation and aesthetic experimentation, mind you. The guitar tone and playing isn't polished and meticulous, but it's better conceptualized than most modern folk, and it's rich with warmth and movement. The man's style isn't quirky and pining, nor is it overly plain. The peaceful, subtlely layered ostinatos in "Invocation of the Fourth Seal" show this off rather tastefully, and the build-up in "Lucas Aquarius" has to be heard to be believed.
There is a deep saturation of 'community vibes'; very little of the miscellaneous studio noise is filtered out, and often times conversation, present company and nature sounds are heard in the background--sometimes made the center of a piece. For instance, and I don't want to spoil too much here, but "Whose Dogs Are Barking?" is practically a recorded timeline of the creation of the song itself, from idea to realization.
The fatal flaw I see in most recent folk albums is the lack of unchained, inventive atmosphere and overly abundant pretense. A lot of groups and artists go for "big-time indie" productions and this goes two ways. First, there are the intensely serious and self-important folk albums, which most modern indie rock production is not able to accommodate and convey properly, and so the music comes off at stiff and try-hard. Then there are the ones whose big selling points are their plain self-awareness and comedy that usually just communicates, "ha ha we don't actually like folk we're making a statement". Decatur Fist doesn't take himself too seriously either. I mean, the guy talks about seeing a fly watching him in the bathroom as "more of a man than I" and naming him Archimedes "like that bird in The Sword & The Stone", and he also records himself conversing with a friend about the ethics of poking a dead body. He doesn't act like he's imparting supreme knowledge. But he is still an intellectual musician and not afraid to show it. He invites his listeners to ponder, well, all his experiences along with him, but not before you break through his sonic code. It's not like it's easy and comforting to listen to this album, but he wields such brilliant craft that I want to keep diving in. This guy really seems like he loves the medium and he wants to take it to another level.
(This rating is probably going to rise quickly)"