Paul Marshall, the man behind the Lone Wolf moniker, has maintained a struggle against anxiety over the past three years following the release of his highly acclaimed sophomore album The Lovers, even to the point that some found it hard to believe that he would ever release new music again. At a time, this included Marshall himself, and it did, in fact, take something from which he drew a deep passion from to bring him back into the game. Third studio album Lodge is developed out of a heartfelt need to dedicate something to the actual Lodge, a studio-slash-converted barn where he had always felt most comfortable, as it was due to be taken apart. Locking himself up in the Lodge alongside David Wärmegård, trumpeter, for six days, the two had developed what is Marshall’s most palpably emotive work yet.
Featuring primarily Marshall’s piano work and Wärmgård’s soothing trumpet, the two create a sparse and haunting sonic landscape devoid of past dabblings in electronica which Lone Wolf had once been directly correlated towards. In the place of any form of synthetics comes a wholly organic work, trading out glass tables for strong chestnut, and placing Marshall’s emotional vocals bravely at the entire forefront of the operation. It’s a love letter chilling in its brutal honesty, aiming to move beyond the trite typicalities of what a musical depiction of an adoration or embracement usually envelopes to encapsulate the brooding, introverted sense of actual human thought.
Marshall forthrightly bears his tussles with anxiety on his sleeve, exemplifying how easy it may be for him to slip back into wrongful temptation and a sad state of being. He’s not okay, stating quite frankly, for instance, a need to drink himself into a stupor on lead single “Give Up”. For what it’s worth, bearing his soul and emotions on this record displays a true folk artist’s characteristic effort to display all facets of the human being, even throughout the bad. It makes for an evocative release, given the palpable sentiment showcased from beginning to end. Lodge, case in point, is Lone Wolf’s best album yet. We, for a few, hope that there’s still more to come.
Words: Jonathan Frahm