Mike Polizze’s Long Lost Solace Find is utterly without pretension. There are no heady concepts and few complex metaphors: Polizze simply quietly reflects on things that have happened to him and things that he wants to do. It’s confessional in that way; Polizze says exactly what he feels without obscuring it behind unwieldy rhetoric.
Created along with Kurt Vile (The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile and the Violators), Polizze’s debut solo album is marked by tracks that breeze by effortlessly. Occasionally, this sameness works to the album’s benefit: it’s quite relaxing—almost raw—in its flat tone, but more often than not, Long Lost Solace Find just feels tedious in its aggressively understated approach.
Long Lost Solace Find is almost instantly reminiscent of Purple Mountains’ self-titled debut from last year. Both albums are sung in a deadpan, both feel deeply biographical, and both are instrumentally sparse, primarily dominated by laid–back, sun–soaked guitars. But where David Berman, Purple Mountains’ frontman, was able to construct devastating, nihilistic reflections on depression with similarly simple, confessional lyrics, Polizze’s efforts just don’t pack the same punch.
This drawback of being pointedly unemotional is best heard on Polizze’s “Do do do.” Opening with a sunny–sounding intro set against Polizze’s struggles with alcohol, he sings “Wasted all my days / Chasing my own ways / Falling on the floor / Drink a little more.” But then, right when it sounds like he’s going to say something important, he just sings “Do do do” over and over again, eventually referencing The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” melody. This is ultimately representative of the majority of the album: It seems that Polizze and Vile were so focused on making chill, laid–back music, that they couldn’t be bothered to actually confront some of the very issues they bring up. Ultimately, this is their decision to make, but the end result is that there just isn’t much noteworthy material on this album.
Though Long Lost Solace Find at times showcases Polizze’s excellent, confessional lyricism—a skill not utilized on Purling Hiss’ (one of the two bands he fronts) lofi, distorted, guitar–led sound—the production here is boring across the board. Each track seems to run together, rarely changing tempo or instrumental style. That’s not to say that instrumental variation is the paragon of a compelling album, but in the case of Long Lost Solace Find, the album would greatly benefit from excitement somewhere—anywhere—in the otherwise lethargic 12–song track list.
Each track is underlined by similar guitar strums or plucks, with some more twangy guitars accentuating Polizze’s laid–back vocals. Vile occasionally busts out another instrument: "Revelation" has a gorgeous trumpet countermelody (and is by far the best song on the record), "Cheewawa" features a subtle harmonica, and a few other tracks have a slide guitar. Overall, Vile’s production offers a welcome change in pace to an album that otherwise rarely deviates outside a generic indie/folk/rock sound.
Not all music must confront the nature of existence or the human condition. Not all music must grapple with depression or shine with exuberance. Not all music must feature mind–bending, experimental production or lyricism. But good music should have something to say, something to reflect on, some compelling reason to inspire genuine emotional connection with the listener. Mike Polizze’s Long Lost Solace Find, though it certainly adheres to a consistent aesthetic, is just kind of boring, and not in a particularly interesting way.