After listening to local singer/songwriter Fera’s third self-recorded solo CD, Sobriquets, I’ve gone from merely appreciating his inventive approach to completely falling for the artist. This album is a giant leap forward for the poetic troubadour. Over time, Fera (aka Michael Strishak) has developed his somewhat dramatic-sounding vocal affectation (reminiscent of Conor Oberst and even Robert Smith of the Cure) into one of his biggest assets, and here it is confidently incorporated into his songwriting, adding impassioned foundation to his dreamy aesthetic. My favorites right now are the longer tracks—“If I Go” (6:05) and “I Just Wanted to Let You Know” (7:11)—where he stretches out and takes his time repeating a simple acoustic guitar-and-mysterious-vocals (“Start a fire in someone’s body”) arrangement for the bulk of the song before ending with the addition of a chorus of backing vocals or making a shift to a dynamic coda. The best, however, is “Penumbrous.” Built on looping banjo arpeggios, the arrangement is unusual and thrilling, with a big chorus of vocals rushing in unexpectedly to introduce a line—“We are! (shadows in the hall)”—and the music dropping out completely a couple minutes in before creeping back and finishing in a swirl of electric guitar noise and feedback. A fully realized local work of art.