Michael Feuerstack – ‘The Forgettable Truth’

Review by J.M. Farr

Michael Feuerstack’s ambitions are simple. According to a recent Globe and Mail profile, he only wants to be “a career artist”. He has been making really good albums for over 20 years.

In our times, quiet consistency has been falsely defrocked: self-serving music reviewers are desperate to keep hype cycles spinning, and so they demand that artists reinvent the wheel with each new release. For this reason, Feuerstack has flown quietly below the radar, mostly attracting the admiration of his fellow musicians. The good news is—he’s been making really good albums for over 20 years!

The Forgettable Truth has 12 tracks—cryptic dispatches from a life lived in songwriting: “We started off enlightened / We ended in the dark / We suffered for our art along the way.” This isn’t Feuerstack’s first rodeo, and the album is wise, humble, and surefooted. To me, the songs are like small arcologies, self-sufficient worlds that comprise their own ecosystems.

Feuerstack is good at making the familiar strange, couching revelatory aphorisms in lovely melodies and elegant arrangements. I’m awash in a sweet soul song when all of a sudden he sings: “mother tongue / she always eats her young”. And like so, the songs insinuate themselves into my mind, and I’m left thinking about them long after they’re gone.

I think the album tries to modestly document what it means to be an artist when the only reward is the art itself. There are no calls to the barricades here, just pure hearted reminders of the sweetness that art can bring to a life. The Forgettable Truth is all the more powerful for this simplicity. I’ll leave the last word to Feuerstack: “though it’s cold outside, we got the stereo pumping  / blaring out at the cemetery trees.”