Bristol based singer/songwriter Jericho Noguera recently released his stunning debut EP, Black Lake, a stripped back, mesmerising, acoustic folk journey. Recorded in part at his home in Cheltenham, as well as in a small room in Bristol’s inner city, the four tracks were laid down on a 90s eight track using a single mic, just the singer and his Fender acoustic guitar.
The result is nostalgic, organic, and charmingly lo-fi, the songs have the tap and squeak that is part of a closely recorded, well played, acoustic guitar. Reminiscent of Iron & Wine and Roman Candle era Elliot Smith, the tracks are driven by the acoustic guitar, Noguera using vocal layers to add dynamic shifts. The recording style is warm, sounding as though you in the same room with the singer.
Jericho Noguera – Black Lake
Title track ‘Black Lake’ started life as an extended poem, which was later condensed, and with the addition of the guitar part became the song that set the tone for the writing and recording of the EP, as well as inspiring the cover art, which the singer painted himself.
The opening track is the EP’s most upbeat moment, the guitar percussive, driving the song in a steady four rhythm. A psychedelic folk influence is evident here, especially in the vocal harmonies, which are used sparingly to provide impact. The raw acoustic and breathy reverbed vocals invokes imagery of soft focus shot of sunshine streaming though a window.
‘Guado – These Living Times’
…has a nice analogue hiss; the subtle 6/8 shuffle feel changing time signature mid-song for the instrumental interlude. Whilst ‘Black Lake’ started out as a poem, this track sounds like it began life as an instrumental, the lyrics added afterwards. The waltzing ‘Wandering Away’ furthers the comparisons to Elliot Smith, the lyrics poetic, mysterious and dark, “Were you wandering away, did you wonder the yonder within, did you hear the sirens call, did you even care at all, or were you just wandering.”
‘A Girl Behind the Sunflower’
…has a hymn like quality to it, displaying the influence of 60s and 70s acoustic folk. The song ending with Noguera’s wonderful falsetto, the layered ooh’s and aah’s providing a fitting end to the song, and the EP as a whole.
Black Lake isn’t a long EP, all four tracks are pretty short, ‘Guado – These Living Times’ is the longest at 3:12, whilst final track ‘A Girl Behind the Sunflower’ is very succinct at just over two minutes. The songs don’t feel incomplete, and sound like they end when they should, but there is a feeling a wanting a little more, especially with the standout title track.
New Single – City Radio
Hardly taking time to draw breath, Jericho Noguera is releasing a new single this month, ‘City Radio,’ with a run of dates to follow. His live show now includes a keyboard player, and rehearsals have begun with a full band. In addition to adding another sonic dimension live, the new fuller sound will no doubt help shape the sound of the new album, recording for which begins in September. The new recordings will take place at London’s Resident Studios, with help from producer Paul Carr, assistant engineer to the likes of Nathan Boddy (James Blake, Bruno Major) and Rodaidh McDonald (The XX, Adele).
Jericho Noguera – Links
Black Lake is out now, and can be streamed via Spotify, or available digitally from the usual outlets. Jericho Noguera will be playing at Mr Wolf’s in Bristol on July 30, with more shows coming up in September. Information about his music, as well as upcoming shows, can be found at his Website, or stay up to date on his Facebook page.
Words Nicholas Cheek