The fruits of Lewis’s labour are on brilliant display on Method of Places. It’s an album which effortlessly straddles the worlds of indie rock, electronica, jazz and soul, bristling with big ideas and artfully arranged songs that are both abstract and melodic, shifting and morphing around you, pulsing with a hushed intensity, but always grounded by a rhythm section so spartanly groovy that your head can’t help but nod along in assent.
Written, played and self-produced across five years, in five bedrooms, the record has a big kind of history in it, both sonically and lyrically. Ask Coleman and he’ll unassumingly tell you that for him each song is a micro-world containing multiple moments in time, each one swimming with memories and pieces of himself that span the last half-decade. “Some of these songs have like a 21-year-old version of me playing bass, and like a 22-year-old version of me playing the guitar line and a 24-year-old version of me singing vocals and a 26-year-old version of me adding some other elements to it,” he says. “And I hear it and I can kind of remember where I was at those times in those songs.”
In ‘Good Side’ he is a 15-year-old kid in Year 9, trying on corduroy pants at Savers (Melbourne’s much-loved Mecca for secondhand clothes), developing a personality, finding friends, having crushes. In ‘Going Your Way’ he’s six wines in, a piano stool creaking beneath him as he idly plays the keys. In ‘Is This Me Now’ he’s accidentally out of his mind on hallucinogens, as synths warp and crash around his distant voice, convinced he’s broken his brain forever. When taken as a whole, Method of Places becomes a history of his young adulthood up till now. A Memory Palace, where all the songs are different rooms, co-existing under the album’s roof.
While recording the album in his bedroom wasn’t so much a “cool” choice (“It was more about convenience to me,” he says), it did help him capture that real, lived-in warmth. Listening closely, you can hear a lot of ambient sounds left in the mix. “I love being able to hear a room or physical space someone’s in at a time, not just a complete artificial reverb world. A phone turning off or getting moved, a piano stool creaking, when you can actually hear those kinds of things, it makes it more of a visceral experience.”
It’s these kinds of details that give the impression of Coleman physically moving around inside the album, his Memory Palace. But while the album is often introspective, Coleman doesn’t want it to feel exclusive, but rather inviting to the listener. “I really hope it isn’t something that’s just in my brain that no one can connect to,” he says. “I would love it to be a world that other people can exist in as well.”
Release: November 20th, 2020, Ivy League Records
Words: Ivy League/Mushroom