Check Ahead: Careful - "I Had a Kid"

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In the indie/folk world, there are a few voices that, no matter what they do, unnerve. Will Oldham for one. Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu for another. Add to that list producer and multi-instrumentalist Eric Lindley, who, with his aptly named project Careful, builds small painstaking worlds of acoustic guitar and electronic textures that bubble with a menace.

To record his third full-length, Because I Am Always Talking, Lindley retreated to a closet in his family home in Orange County, California -- the “last place in the world” that has his things from childhood. Among the toys and trophies and boxes of embarrassments is where Lindley wrapped his voice around spare, unsettling arrangements. Songs, mostly, about darkness on the domestic front.

The experience of listening to the song “I Had a Kid” is much like reading a good thriller, like something out of a Patricia Highsmith novel. The ending is going to be bleak, possibly gruesome, but you can’t look away. “I had a kid,” Lindley sings, with a stress seemingly on every syllable, “to keep the family quiet…for a while.” And later he asks, “Is it so obvious? I want to breathe better air.”

It feels like the walls are closing in. These are maybe the kinds of thoughts that come when you’ve locked yourself in your childhood closet for a while.