Silicone Boone is a bit of an enigma. Sure, you can glean the essentials from his Spotify bio concerning his Amish upbringing and his assimilation into the modern world via proxy of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, but he’s still fundamentally shrouded in mystery. TheReaches, an album fifteen years in the making, quite literally explores concepts of astronomical proportions – from alien encounters to the heat death of the universe – but the lyrics themselves are fairly poetic, if not ambiguous at times. Musically, TheReaches calls to mind the spacious Americana of Orville Peck, the piano sensibilities of Keane, and the vocal prowess of Thad Cockrell. In short, it’s a delightful mix of cinematic shoegazy folk.
Boone’s songwriting feels uncannily strong. Perhaps it’s a bit of what made S-Town so appealing; there’s something particularly surreal about amazing intellect hidden away in so-called hick towns. Add in the fact that his first proper release crosses the public eye in his mid 40s and you’re left with an artist who hasn’t followed a very traditional path. Most artists call it quits in their 20s, but Boone holds nothing back on his 50-minute conceptual debut.
Boone manages to channel equal parts Bruce Springsteen and John Mark McMillan in his arrangements, resulting in an album that thrives on dynamics. Despite its independent slant, it’s pop-friendly. Straight out of the gate, “Borne” fires on all cylinders. Overdriven guitars pair with glistening synthesizers. Other times, like on the illustrious “Found You”, things take a softer turn. Boone does just as much with a piano and small drum kit as he does with fuller arrangements.
Ultimately, The Reaches feels like a cosmic dance party. The lyrics are abstract enough to blur the line between science fiction, romance, and even worship. Boone’s delivery feels vulnerable, helping cement the album’s folk slant. It may not be purely biographical, but it feels easy to relate to nonetheless. Boone transforms songs that far exceed the length of typical radio tracks into immersive, cinematic moments. Even the nine-minute closer never slows down. The Reaches is certainly an overlooked gem of an album that offers plenty for the music connoisseur and casual listener alike.