New Jersey-born Alex Bleeker is an old soul. For his sophomore album, How Far Away, he lets that come into play fully. Over eleven tracks, he deals with the autumnal phase of lost love, the point after the grieving subsides and you start figuring out what you’re supposed to do next. As with his last album, Bleeker cobbles together a ragtag collection of ‘freaks,’ including Mountain Man’s Amelia Meath, who provides gorgeously weighty backing vocals on four tracks, Woods’ Jarvis Tanviere, Real Estate’s Jackson Pollis, Big Troubles’ Sam Franklin, among plenty other like-minded musicians who lend sparkling instrumental flourishes and a full-bodied backbone to Bleeker’s pained yowl.“Album opener ‘Don’t Look Down’ feels like a mission statement for the rest of the record. Over upbeat guitar jangle and smooth organ runs, Bleeker’s voice cracks and lilts: ‘Don’t look back on the way we met / Don’t look back at me now / Don’t retract all the things you’ve said / Don’t back out on me.’ In the hands of plenty other songwriters, this would come off as self-pitying, but Bleeker just seems wise.