eMusic Review 0
The first proper collection of Sufjan Stevens songs in five years starts small: just Stevens's voice trembling over a gently lowing choir. It gets bigger eventually, adding strings and horns and timpani and gradually expanding to an 11-minute opus that takes on American superficiality while extensively quoting Simon & Garfunkel. How's that for a comeback?
Stevens always had a thing for grand entrances. He owned the early part of the '00s owing mostly to two records, the small, autobiographical Michigan and the bigger, conceptual Illinois, twin pinnacles in an era of quiet alongside Antony and the Johnsons, Devendra Banhart and the Decemberists. But things have gone pear-shaped in the decade's back half, with bands like Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear taking Stevens's penchant for layered harmonies and elaborate orchestrations and turning them inside-out, favoring the cockeyed as much as the classicist.
So Stevens, wisely, has scaled back. Despite the fact that its bookended by two songs that push past the 10-minute mark, All Delighted People is mostly Sufjan in Miniature, a refreshingly modest affair that doesn't break its back trying to give Steve Reich a run for his money. Even conceptually, he's shifted… read more »