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John Van Deusen might be a new name to one or the other, but he is the former singer of a band called The Lonely Forest who released four albums in 10 years and especially their 3rd one “Arrows” (2011) got a lot of great response – NPR decorated them as “best new artist” and van Deusen was voted for “best male vocalist” by Seattle Weekly. This album was produced by Chris Walla (Dead Cab For Cutie) who also released it via his own label in cooperation with Atlantic Records. Indie hits like ‘We Sing In Time’ und ‘Turn Off This Song Go Outside’ showed his talent for songwriting and are still stucking in my head all the time.
John Van Deusen now is a solo artist living in the beautiful Anacortes, WA – named after Anne Curtis Bowman, the wife of one of the first settlers there – and has released his first album “(I Am) Origami Pt. I – The Universal Sigh” which again shows his big potential writing great songs. After travelling for almost two years writing and recording songs on the road he is back home and believe it or not he has already written songs for four albums being released within the next couple of years. They’re all called “(I Am) Origami” and each has a sub title like “The Universal Sigh”.
He describes this one as an “indie pop” album which is about his failed relationships and the fact that he was treating his friends like an asshole. “Anyone who has known me over the years knows that I’ve repeatedly been the bad guy in a lot of my relationships. “The Universal Sigh” is kind of about that.”
If you meet Van Deusen this might sound a bit implausible, because he is such a nice guy, but he definitely has his fragile and sensitive side, but in the end only a good guy can write such great songs. The opener ‘Always On Fire’ really sound like the NorthWest which we love as it’s the best part of America to us and this song pretty much reminds us to the early days of The Shins, Death Cab For Cutie and Telekinesis. ‘The Bitter End’ is the bittersweet single and sometimes you get the feeling that he doesn’t know where to put all his song ideas after splitting up with The Lonely Forest in 2014.
“(I Am) Origami Pt. I – The Universal Sigh” really is a timeless album in the best sense with big melodies and a big amount of warmth. Artists like John Van Deusen are the reason why DevilDuck is in business to help them a little bit getting some attention out there and of course we know and love the fact that it might be music for niches, but for the majority of mainstream listeners it’s way too good anyway, isn’t it?