I’m guessing I picked up Time Without Consequence after seeing the film Away We Go with my wife. Alexi Murdoch embodies that soft folk vibe Nick Drake chased throughout his career and became huge again thanks to that Volkswagen commercial. So sure, Murdoch is part of a larger movement that for better or worse spearheaded a massive amount of wispy bearded men plucking acoustic guitars and getting record deals, but there’s still a few gems to be had from Time Without Consequence that I can turn to without cringing.
“Away We Go” opens the album and was the big hit from the film. It’s nice, and largely indicative of where Murdoch goes with the majority of Time Without Consequence: nice, percussive picked acoustic guitar and a droning, softly inflected voice. The Scottish brogue comes through in small moments giving the song a small bit of life. A lot of the songs follow this template, including “Breathe” and “Song For You” which doesn’t make them inherently bad, per se (so much of metal relies on the same thing) but does wear me down a bit.
But interspersed between the more conscious “let’s make a hit” songs are tiny experiments that really work for me, like “Home.” At just under six minutes it initially sounds like it’s going to fall into the same trap as some of the other songs: too monotonous, too long. But as the songs goes on subtle electronic shades of psychedelia creep in, eventually overpowering “Home” as the emphasis shifts from the guitar to a pounding drum beat. “Blue Mind” has similar flourishes, and those moments really work to break Time Without Consequence out of the mold of acoustic imitators.
But aside from those and the strong melodies in “Wait” and “Shine” the rest of the record feel a little too long and consistent in tone to really do more than play in the background. As an album it loses the thread more than once, and could do with a little tightening.