Spencer Radcliffe has a way with time, in that he has a way with letting time get away from him. Most of the songs on Hot Spring, the Chicago musician’s latest album with his full band Everyone Else, are about time: how it passes quickly, slowly, how the seasons change in the blink of an eye, how that blink of an eye is insignificant in the grand scheme of it all. The album’s 7-minute “Clocktower,” culminates in a “tick tock” repetition that goes on for so long at it feels like a cosmic absurdity.
Radcliffe pays respect to the the infinitesimal, making it feel ungraspable, unknowable, but ultimately meaningless. On Hot Spring, he likens the grand journey of life to a single road: “I was walking down a lonely road/ The only one some people know, but not me,” he sings on “True Love’s Territory,” a song about being lifted out of depression by a great love. He looks at generational lessons on “Floss For The Future”: “I floss to teach the kids my ways/ I floss like it’s important/ I floss every single day,” a flex about taking care of yourself for what’s to come.
The arrangements on Hot Spring are some of the best Radcliffe has ever made. Now more comfortable with his whole band, who have been performing live with him over the last couple years, he’s found the exact right way to utilize them, which generally means a lot of pillowy atmospheres and strings that sweep and swallow. These songs build on the sonics and ideas he’s explored on 2017’s Explore The Great Outdoors and 2015’s Looking In — it’s another worthy entry in Radcliffe’s grand explorations of what it all means.
Hot Spring is out 5/17 via Run For Cover.