“Dawn Bends” is, largely, an acoustic-led tune, until about halfway through, when an electric guitar appears out of nowhere, spinning knotty, distorted riffs to counterbalance the otherwise mellow song. “Feet in the air,” McCaughan sings, “Head stuck deep in the sand/How will you find your friends?/When dawn doesn’t break, it bends.”
In a statement, McCaughan described “Dawn Bends” as “a cautionary tale about getting a little too into the isolation.” The track features Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and the members of Yo La Tengo on bass, organ, guitar, and back-up vocals.
The Sound of Yourself will mark McCaughan’s second solo album, following his 2015 effort, Non-Believers. McCaughan began working on the LP in January at his home studio after finishing up work on a film score and other musical projects. Of his thought process at the time, he said, “Each day is blurring into the next, so what are we doing today? How can I disrupt this? I think what resulted was a theme of subdued… ‘joy’ is the wrong word, but it’s at least comforting if not propulsive to have something open-ended to work on every day without any kind of structure or deadline or rules.”
McCaughan has a handful of tour dates scheduled for this fall, including a run of solo shows with the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, followed by a string of full-band performances.