Vancouver-based musician Sam Rocha's Late to Love was one of the most memorably unique records of 2014; billed as an "Augustinian soul" concept album, it interpreted the saint's Confessions with unusually cerebral, spiritual lyrics and a hybrid R&B/folk sound. Its follow-up, Fear and Loving, was released on January 1 and dials back the R&B influence, with a heavier focus on Rocha's acoustic guitar work while introducing a couple new elements, too.
On the album's opener "Folk Phenomenology", the deliberate finger-picking is almost drowned out by a theremin-like warble that, along with some charming audio of Rocha's son reading aloud, gives the track a pleasantly abstract feel. The reading comes straight out of Rocha's new book, from which the song gets its name (in addition to his music, Rocha is also an academic philosopher). Discussing the book, Rocha has said he's not interested in the study of aesthetics ("As someone who's been playing guitar since I was five, I've never really felt like I needed a prevailing theory of art"), and that belief in art's ineffability is reflected in the song's single, repeated lyric: "What does art know?" Check out "Folk Phenomenology" below.