With a gentle gust of a melody to lead the way, a piano greets us as we begin to sink into the dreamlike folk album that is Thomas Charlie Pedersen’s Daylight Saving Hours’ opening cut, “To a First Love.” Aching with emotion but efficiently constructed as to carry us forth into “The Meriwether Pull” seamlessly, “To a First Love” gives us an idea of the chilling harmonies that are about to come at us in the next thirteen songs without overstating the main theme of Daylight Saving Hours, which I found to be self-awareness. “Moveables” continues the analytical tone with deep poetic license, and while “Green Plateau” is a bit more intricately-designed than the three tracks that precede it here, it doesn’t negatively affect the fluidity of the music at all – the opposite, truth be told.

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“The World is Not Your Oyster” throws a mild groove into the mix before giving over the spotlight to a brief segue song in “Sad to See You Go,” which despite coming in at under a full-minute in playing time has as much feeling as any of the longer tracks on this record do. “Must Be The World,” which was chosen as a single/music video to promote Daylight Saving Hours, has the most polished finish of any song here, but though it’s aesthetically glossy in comparison to, say, the instrumental fantasy that is “The Witty Moniker,” it too feels like a DIY folk anthem in the spirit of the outsider singer/songwriter tradition.

The latter portion of this LP is the more cerebral of its two major movements, with “Stay True” and “Blood Moon” flirting with glowing harmonies that are even more expressive than their lyrics are. “The Freewheeler” brings a shot of stability back into Daylight Saving Hours, and while it doesn’t have the sonic presence that the powerhouse ballad “At the End of the Day” has in spades, I wouldn’t have arranged the two any differently than they were here. Everything feels really deliberately structured in this latest album from Thomas Charlie Pedersen – from the design of the tracklist to the minor elements within the mix of any given song, there’s not a doubt in my mind that a lot of thought (and heart) went into making every stitch of audio affective in some way, shape or form.

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My very favorite composition from Daylight Saving Hours comes right before breaking the record’s finish line with “Faithful Mistress,” a gripping slow track reminiscent of a cross between a hesitant Darren Jessee and the late, great Daniel Johnston at his most lucid, and when coupled with the epic title cut’s instrumental finale, it makes for quite the conclusion to an unforgettable slew of songs. Thomas Charlie Pedersen isn’t a major figure on the international folk spectrum right now, let alone a household name, but in releasing this splendid second album, he makes an airtight case for why he belongs on the radar of every alternative singer/songwriter connoisseur this year. Daylight Saving Hours is a chef-d’oeuvre of urbane musicianship, and it deserves every bit of the buzz it’s getting right now.

Garth Thomas