An almost hypnotic, quiet-but-intense number that seems perfect for a late afternoon on a late summer day. Featuring pretty much all acoustic instruments and shuffling along on the frame of a gentle, forward-moving keyboard riff, “Turpentine” has an old-timey flair but a sharp present-day vibe. (And it fades in; you don’t hear many songs fade in.)
The singing performances bring this one to particular life, both the craggy, soulful lead effort by Mark Charles Heidinger and the beautifully attuned, vibrato-laced harmonies offered by Heidinger’s sister, Rose Guerin. Heidinger sounds as if he’s singing on your old vinyl turntable, Guerin as if she never opens her eyes while making unconsciously portentous arm gestures. Towards the beginning of the song, she picks and chooses where to inject her fierce accompaniment; when she at long last stays on stage with him for one last verse in this chorus-free song, redemption feels close at hand.
“Turpentine” can be found on Divide and Conquer, Vandaveer’s second album, released last week on Supply & Demand Records. Vandaveer is the name the Washington, D.C.-based Heidinger uses for performance; it’s a family name that he found on the back of a watch passed down to him on his father’s side.