MJ Lenderman sketches out a scene of domestic unease with “Tastes Just Like It Costs,” a standout cut from his third solo album, ship songs. He begins the song with a “what did I tell you?” about a hated hat, followed by gestures about a fancy butcher, a scream, a trip, dinner plans interrupted, if not completely ruined. The singer-songwriter captures the weight of disappointment and frustration, which he wraps in an instrumental haze reminiscent of the thick southern humidity of his home state. As guitarist for the Asheville, North Carolina indie rock group Wednesday, Lenderman augments the band’s vaguely nostalgic melodies, but on his own, he gives the instrument a rough edge, delivering raw, occasionally painful tracks laden with a bit of trouble. .
The fluttering lead guitar of “Tastes Just Like It Costs” tosses like a restless sleeper, with Lenderman stretching his Young howl over lines about vaguely ill-fated efforts to restore a crumbling relationship. A high, ragged guitar solo emerges as Lenderman drags the song to its conclusion, a ray of light making its way through the sea of fuzz. Like a collapsing relationship, the good things money can buy are not guaranteed to last; Sometimes the only return on a great investment is a bitter aftertaste.