The Goodbye Party delivers devastating ambient sounds on new album 'Stray Sparks' - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Stray Sparks aims straight for your heart and doesn’t miss. The latest album from The Goodbye Party, it is their most raw and intimate release to date. The project of Philadelphia-based musician Michael Cantor, is out today via Double Double Whammy.

The project fuses diary entry like lyrics with ambient soundscapes, analog recording techniques, and tragic honesty. It feels like a fresh heartbreak when the pain is still visceral, and you’re just trying to figure out how to get through the day.

Some moments like “Magnolia” are stripped down, but others lean into a collage of hisses, crackles, and pops that add to the intimacy of the album. At times the vocals sound like they were ripped from an answering machine as they are drenched in a fuzz akin to The Microphones. The dulcet piano gives the record a soft candlelight glow, and you can tell it was written late at night during the hours when you should be sleeping together but are up trying to sort through sadness instead. You can hear the scratching of the strings, the subtle breaks in his voice that carry so much emotion, it’s as if he’s playing it directly to you.

The album was written after Cantor attended some songwriting workshops led by Big Theif’s Buck Meek and Lomelda’s Hannah Reed. Their influence is evident in the poignant ache that pierces the album. There’s a level of self-reflection and attention to detail in the small things he brings up like the blue mirror and prayers, and lack of direction. Other times he comes to more sweeping realizations like when he confesses, “I didn’t think she’d leave so soon / some things come back when you least expect them to.” There’s a brittleness to the lyrics, the things he leaves out seemingly intentional. As Cantor pieces together these vignettes, it’s clear he has to be careful how much he reveals, with the wound still fresh he knows to tread lightly.

You can stream the album below.

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