Thom Wasluck, who makes music as Planning For Burial, is an intensely private person—so much so that on his debut, Leaving, only instruments were listed in the album credits, not names. I didn’t know who he was until a year after I discovered him; at one point, I assumed they were an actual, multi-member band. This solitariness bleeds into the music as well; Wasluck’s songs explore how intimate loneliness can be. He combines doom, slowcore, drone, and goth-pop and uses it to soundtrack meditations on past loves slipping into mist, and watching days become weeks while bedridden with regret. It’s as if Phil Elverum traveled with Sleep’s rig.
After living in Matawan, New Jersey, for just under a decade, Wasluck moved back to his childhood home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 2014, to pursue an apprenticeship in the International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators Union. Below The House, his third and latest full-length, was recorded in this home. There’s more accessible material on here than his previous work, such as the heavy, Cure-esque “Warmth of You” and the crushing expansiveness of “Somewhere in the Evening.” It feels enclosed and intimate, and even when it drifts into serene drone or tracks colored by somber piano, it never has the spacey quality that the quieter moments on previous albums did. That’s because Wasluck didn’t have much room to move: he felt more isolated when he returned home, and took refuge in whiskey—a lot of it.