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Album Review: 'Carry The Ghost,' By Noah Gundersen

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Noah Gundersen examines spirituality in his music in a particularly raw and intense way. He's 26 and was raised in such a devout household that he wasn't allowed to hear secular music as a child. Now he explores faith in his lyrics. Meredith Ochs has this review of his latest album, "Carry The Ghost."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EMPTY FROM THE START")

NOAH GUNDERSEN: (Singing) I think I heard a good man say, God is love and love has made us. But have you seen the news today? I have, and I think God has gone away, if he was ever there anyway. 'Cause anyone that tells you they were born good is lying. We're just born and we are dying. And I know it's been said, but, mothers, be good to your daughters, and when they're older, sons, be good to your fathers.

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: On his new album, Noah Gundersen treads the rocky emotional and philosophical terrain of wrestling with faith. He struggles to make sense of the belief system he grew up with, sometimes using colorful metaphors, sometimes being direct.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHOW ME THE LIGHT")

GUNDERSEN: (Singing): Every Sunday I would sit in your row, praying that one day you'd finally notice. Now that I'm older, I finally see you were the worst and the best thing that happened to me. Oh, show me the light.

OCHS: With his evocative singing as the centerpiece and very minimal accompaniment, his songs are as intimate as a confessional.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOPLESS DANCER")

GUNDERSEN: (Singing): If you lived in the shadow of the mountain, would you notice when the mountain was gone? If you played in the sparkling fountain, would the drought seem twice as long?

OCHS: Mostly quiet and pensive, Noah Gundersen's new album is a slow burn, but his imaginative lyrics and soul-baring melodies are engaging. His music pulls you in whether he's searching for God or for love, or just for how to be a man.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JEALOUS")

GUNDERSEN: (Singing): I don't want no jealous love, honey, I've had enough of it all my life bringing me down.

SHAPIRO: Meredith Ochs is a talk show host and deejay at Sirius XM Radio. She reviewed "Carry The Ghost" by Noah Gundersen.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JEALOUS")

GUNDERSEN: (Singing): So many words but nothing left to sing. I want it better than I've ever had. I want it better... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.