Seth Faergolzia releases retrospective album spanning 20 years
As a member of Rochester musician Seth Faergolzia’s oddball freak-folk band 23 Psaegz for a few years in the early-2010s, I got to witness his creative process firsthand and became well-acquainted with his seemingly capricious but always deliberate approach to songwriting. But for every song of his I learned, there had to have been 50 I hadn’t heard.
Some of those unknown songs — none of which I performed on — can be found on “Not Only Because But Also Because,” which Faergolzia self-released via Bandcamp on Dec. 3, 2021. The album is also available in a limited run of 50 CDs.
Faergolzia says his reason for releasing “Not Only Because But Also Because” was simple enough: He was sitting on a large cache of songs and realized he hadn’t put out any new music in 2021.
The nine songs in this new collection, which spans music written between 2001 and 2021, have no clear connection to one another, beyond the fact that none of them have been previously released on a proper album.
Whether they were initially intended for Faergolzia’s incendiary, punk-inspired anti-folk band Dufus, as in the case of “Pilot” — which lay dormant for two decades — or they were inspired by the isolation of the pandemic (“Not Alone”), the always-idiosyncratic tunes serve simultaneously as curiosities for those well-versed with Faergolzia’s prodigious songwriting output and as introduction to the uninitiated, encapsulating the Rochester musician’s identity as charismatic singer and clever lyricist.
“Fever Love Arrival” is a quirky ballad from 2016 that showcases Faergolzia’s elastic voice — in particular, his crystalline falsetto — which soars over the delicate instrumentation of his band Multibird with the adoring lyrics, “Heaven are you, and I will place my hands in all that you do/ You move through lightning.” That hazy vibe continues with the lilting, dream-like “Desk Away,” which Faergolzia recorded with Multibird’s predecessor, the band 23 Psaegz.
For the most part, the songs on “Not Only Because But Also Because” eschew the acerbic, in-your-face style of Dufus in favor of gentler, more introspective, and approachable lyrics and arrangements.
“Not Only Because But Also Because” is just the beginning of a glut of previously unreleased music Faergolzia plans to put out in 2022, but it’s an important signpost on the landscape of his 25-plus years of music-making. The album reveals a softer side of the songwriter’s music — one that may be unfamiliar to listeners accustomed to his ecstatic, often raucous sensibility.
“Not Only Because But Also Because” is at once a collection of oddities and rarities and a compelling retrospective that showcases the talents of a grossly underrated artist, whose propensity for weird music can both alienate and attract new audiences.