Style: Spirited and howling folk music; compare to Josh Ritter, Tom Waits, White Stripes
Top tracks: "Home on Your Heart," "Maybe," "Black with Tears"
Strumpel's previous album, Elephants, was a thundering take on the Psalms; his new one, Birds, is a creature of another kind. This acoustic affair is nimble and light on its feet, but, if anything, even more tempestuous than its predecessor, a gloriously disheveled affair where hoarse vocals, furiously strummed guitars, and primal trumpet blasts meet in a kind of holy hoedown, the messy nature of the performances perfectly conjuring the spirit of the songs. Here, Strumpel takes inspiration from throughout Scripture—and from Song of Solomon, in particular—to bear witness to the chaos and confusion of earthly life, and remind us of the hope and healing we find in our Lover.1