Tucked away in a distant corner of modern music’s memory is the concept of the self-produced songwriter, especially the one who maintains the feel and sound of the labor of love it is. Enter The Craters, the one-man show of Boston’s Wes Kaplan, for which he conceptualizes, writes, records and edits himself. “Suburban Lawns,” the first single off his new record, American English (due out April 7 on Designer Medium Records), is a testament to the power of the lonely person, still writing music in their bedroom and having full control over everything, even just this once. Light-hearted guitar-picking flutters over a somewhat garbled low-end, no less meticulous; they play off each other in a way you’d think it the soundtrack to butterflies during mating season.
Kaplan’s collected, yet confident voice blends in between the two tones, a fettered stay in the slow rotation of a microwave. Distant sounding snare drumming comes off almost as background noise, as though he’s playing and singing to himself in the middle of a bustling coffee shop. The Craters seem to address song construction and say, “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.” The chorus introduces a heartbeat you didn’t know was there, a hollowed and incessant kickdrum pounding in your chest and making you the kind of alive one feels when confronted with death, as Kaplan croons, “we can close our eyes, we can share the dark, with the lights out.” It’s a dark, yet intimate sentiment, the latter felt all the more, thanks to the delivery and the sound.