Julien Demoulin last showed up around these parts as Silencio, whose album Floods left me wanting more. Loose Ends is a group of pieces he recorded over the last 10 years, most exhibiting a laid-back post-rock vibe rich in pleasant guitar lines. By turns it exhibits optimistic brightness and alone-time introspection. “The Clarity of Purpose” immediately energizes the room with a galloping pace and a blend of guitar rock and electro-pop. (Do I detect a subtle hint of Ultravox here?) Shiny chime tones add some extra polish. “Fading Mind” lures me in with a warbling bass sequencer run. Demoulin folds in more elements like they’ve just entered the room and sat down—light taps of percussion, high chords, and guitar notes. It all stays low-key and almost ambient until he throws in a quick drop, and turns it into a full-on post-rock piece to captivate me even more. He shows a different and slightly surprising side on “A Moment With Doyle,” giving us a tender, ballad-style melody on what sounds to me like a dulcimer. A potent folk-song vibe runs through it, a rustic charm, and Demoulin further underscores it with field recordings and vocal clips at the start and finish. “What’s Left” leaves a trail of melancholy in its wake, with Demoulin picking out a slow and sliding guitar melody over quiet pads and a softly whistling accompanying line. Piano late in the track lends weight and gravity. There’s a lot to like on Loose Ends, although I could do without the 36-second shrug of an opening track and the song “Into Shade”—its drowsy, drooped-shoulders vocal does nothing for me beyond muddying up a good instrumental flow.
A solid outing from Demoulin, one that will find its home in my uptempo shuffles.
Available from Sound in Silence.