Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Album Review: Schuyler Fisk

Schuyler (Sky-ler) Fisk is an indie singer-songwriter whose debut album The Good Stuff has finally emerged. Acquainted with Schuyler’s acoustic solo songs and her live shows, I was intrigued to see what this album would bring forth and how the songs would differ from her EPs. In The Good Stuff, crossover songs like “Where I’m Standing,” “Hello” and “Afterglow” have been reworked and transformed for a more obvious radio-friendly vein; Afterglow’s piano is more present and the dynamics are more grandiose, while “Hello” features production by the infamous Linda Perry and includes a nice addition of glockenspiel.

The title track starts things off right, with a poppy baseline before the acoustic guitar and drums rush in with Schuyler’s silky vocals. The upbeat chorus comes in and officially sets the tone for the rest of the album – this, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be pure indie acoustic pop dipped in a light glaze of southern twang with a sweet, addicting and honest center. “You’re Happening To Me” has great lick on the guitar that hooks throughout the southern-influenced melody and entices one to start rocking to the beat, and the similar sassy “Miss You,” (a song that KT Tunstall wishes she’d written), ensures that you dance all your stress away.

“Cold Heart” is one of the slower ballads, with rich strings and a quiet drum/piano pulse under Fisk’s excellent genuine lyrics about the pains of life post-breakup. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Schuyler Fisk has one of the most candid and soothing voices in the industry today, and because of it, she can go seamlessly from rockin' and unafraid indie-pop anthems to soft and sweet pieces full of heartache. Another beautiful serenade, "Fall Apart Today" is practically heartbreaking, with Fisk's pure and innocent voice stating, "I wish I wasn't so fragile, cause I know that I'm not easy to handle. Baby please, don't forget you love me today." The lyrics, one of Fisk's obvious strengths, continue to impress - in the infectious banjo number, “Other Side of Love,” Fisk asks, “Did we waste our time, or did the time waste us?” The album ends on the well-placed “Last Day Of Our Lives,” as it both completes this solid album with a solid song that fits right in between the pop punches and the beautiful ballads, and it also lyrically wraps up the emotional rollercoaster we've just been on with a reflective and forward-moving message.

Bottom line: This honest and adept indie-pop singer has laced her softly smooth voice throughout a collection of musical harmonies and acoustic guitar romping numbers that feature smart commentary on all the highs and lows that relationships offer. Indie-pop with a southern sass here and an acoustic ballad there, Schuyler will nurse and soothe your soul until it feels right again. Her lyrics are some of the most authentic around, and there is a certain something about this one that draws you in and whispers something special in your ear, making you want to listen over and over again. It'd be a shame if you missed out on this good stuff.

Schuyler's manager asked us to direct you all to her myspace where you can hear some of Schuyler's songs for yourself, and as always, if you like what you hear, head on over to iTunes and support the artist.

Standout tracks: Hello, Where I'm Standing, Miss You, Fall Apart Today, You're Happening To Me

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