On his new studio recording, Liminal Space, (out 10/23) Seattle, WA songwriter Devin Sinha pairs his eloquent lyric-focused composition with elevated instrumental virtuosity to craft a record that will secure his place among the greats of the contemporary folk-rock canon. Sinha excels at eloquently intermingling the intimate and the grand, and that strength is brought seamlessly to bear throughout Liminal Space. Intricate, elegant finger-style guitar melts into swelling strings. Big-sky melodic vistas stretch to the horizon. The varied tones and timbres all balance with thoughtful intentionality, playing the perfect counterpoint to Sinha’s ringing baritone vocals.
Liminal Space builds from the evolutionary course first charted on Sinha’s 2016 LP, Our Past and Present Futures, and further explored on 2017’s Our Fathers Were Lions. While the former dealt primarily with interpersonal relationships and the latter moves through the realms of nature, the work of the artist, and traditional narrative storytelling, Liminal Space resonates with intentional abstraction. “The term Liminal Space refers to a period of transition” explains Sinha. “That in-between realm where you’re past what’s been before, but not quite to the place of what comes next.” Transitional and transformative, and many of the songs on this record convey that sensation; of loss flecked with anticipation for what may be.
Written across the world, from Sydney, Australia, to Bali, Indonesia, to the verdant pine forests of the Pacific Northwest, Liminal Space is as rich and full as the experience that inspired it. While each song is unique, the record is stitched together by Sinha’s poignant lyricism. “The songs are often reflective, and while it has mournful moments, I think there is a hopeful current running through the record” says Sinha. Shaped by the world in which it was created, Liminal Space manages to be of the moment and eminently timeless. Explore the nuanced worlds within, and perhaps you’ll come away a bit more hopeful for it.
“I began writing the first song that would be on the new album even before Our Fathers Were Lions debuted,” says Sinha, “but writing picked up in earnest in the winter of 2018.” While his overall lyric-focused approach to songwriting has been a benchmark of his oeuvre, Liminal Space finds Sinha flexing his compositional muscles beyond the familiar realm of the acoustic guitar. “For this record, I spent many hours composing for violins, cello, trumpet, trombone, and other instruments, rather than solely relying on my engineers/producers/session musicians to help” he explains. “It was the first time that I had done so much composition outside of the instruments I play.” While the process stretched Sinha’s knowledge of music theory, the result is a set of songs each with an undeniable internal cohesion.
Devin Sinha is premiering Liminal Space exclusively with Glide (below), and what makes his work stand out so consistently is his vivid storytelling ability and distinctive mature vocals. Sinha blends elements of The Decemberists, The Tragically Hip and Gregory Alan Isakov into a worldly stew of natural imagery and hummable hooks.
“Liminal Space builds on the course charted in my previous albums, and resonates with intentional abstraction,” ads Sinha. “The term Liminal Space refers to a period of transition. It’s that in-between realm where you’re past what’s been before, but not quite to the place of what comes next. I wanted this album to be transitional and transformative. Many of the songs feature both a sense of loss for what was, and anticipation for what may be yet to come.”
Photo by Vera Pashkevich