William Tyler’s Impossible Truth, his second solo record and first for Merge Records, is an accessible and compelling set of guitar instrumental pieces.
Impossible Truth’s eight songs are comforting and warm. Tyler is an incredibly deft finger picker, but this album isn’t a chilly technical showcase. It’s greater than that. Tyler is far beyond the pretension of showing off for the sake of proving his prowess.
The record succeeds because a strong sense of melody. There aren’t any lyrics, but the lead guitar line is so vocal it feels like some may bubble up. “We Can’t Go Home Again” and “Hotel Catalonia” stand out with lasting, memorable melodies.
The strong central voice allows Tyler to flesh out his imagined landscapes without fear of the listener getting lost or bored. Every song on Impossible Truth gradually evolves and explores, but it never wanders without purpose. The nearly nine minute opener “Country of Illusion” builds and builds until Tyler’s guitar is joined by majestic bass notes. It’s so enthralling, the listener will hardly notice seven minutes have already gone by.
The focus of Impossible Truth is on the world surrounding Tyler. Song titles like “Geography of Nowhere” and “Cadillac Desert” prime listeners’ imaginations with sprawling stretches of earth. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but Tyler’s musical portraits will leave you speechless.
Impossible Truth will be available March 19 on Merge Records.
William Tyler will play The Pinhook on April 11. Tickets are $8 in advance.